Sunday, September 4, 2011
“By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22 KJV).
The book of Genesis closes with: “And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (50:24-26).
Prior to Jacob’s death, he told his son Joseph: “God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession” (Genesis 48:3,4).
When Joseph died, Israel was in Egypt (recall that Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery, and Joseph’s family escaped famine in Canaan by joining him in Egypt; Genesis chapters 37-46). Joseph had faith in what God had promised his great-grandfather Abraham, his grandfather Isaac, and his father Jacob. Israel would eventually leave Egypt to forever return to Canaan, the Promised Land.
Some 140 years after Joseph died, Moses led the nation Israel out of Egypt. The Bible says, “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you” (Exodus 13:19).
Through the eyes of faith, Joseph foresaw the day—over a century into the future—when his remains would lie in Canaan’s soil. God had been faithful to Israel, delivering them from Egypt as He promised. Through the eyes of faith, we see ourselves already in heaven. God will be just as faithful in delivering us.