Today's Manna

February 7, 2017
By Faith
by Eric Doucet
Scripture Reading: Genesis 49-50

Joseph's death is recorded in the last verse of the book of Genesis, providing us with an opportunity to reflect on his life. There are several outstanding characteristics for which Joseph could be remembered - his impeccable character, his willingness to forgive his brothers, his wisdom in preparing for the famine, or his ability to live as an overcomer regardless of what life threw at him. We could also write about his journey from the pit, to Potiphar's house, to the prison, then to the palace as second in command in all of Egypt.

However, God didn't mention any of the things related to Joseph’s life when He inspired the writer of Hebrews to mention Joseph in the Faith Hall of Fame. Instead, God wanted us to remember something about Joseph's death.

Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. (cf. Gen 50:24-26)

Joseph's greatest act of faith was reminding his family, and future generations of Israelites, that Egypt wasn't permanent. According to the promise God made to Abraham (Gen 15:13-16), Israel would be in Egypt for 400 years then God would deliver them from Egypt and lead them back to Canaan. Because he believed God, Joseph made the children of Israel swear an oath that they wouldn't leave his bones in Egypt when God visited them approximately 350 years later.

Think about what this required. One generation would have to remind the next generation about the oath that was taken regarding Joseph's bones. Each generation would also be responsible for knowing the location of Joseph's bones and passing that information along to the next generation. Therefore, each generation, in remembering Jospeh’s bones, would also be reminded that their time in Egypt was temporary. They would be filled with hope as they waited on God to visit them and lead them home.

The importance of Joseph's words and resulting oath are demonstrated by the fact that Moses personably carried the bones out of Egypt the night of the Passover (Ex 13:19). He also kept track of the bones as they wondered in the wilderness for 40 years, then delivered them to Joshua, who buried Joseph's bones in Canaan after his military campaign was over (Josh 24:32).

Joseph was recognized for his faith in God's Word. He simply believed what God said. His faith in God's Word was the key to his impeccable character, willingness to forgive, ability to overcome life's trials, and his promotion and success. Joseph lived by faith and died in faith. He believed what God said and what God said ruled his life, not his circumstances.

May we learn to believe God to the point that His Word rules our lives, governs our thoughts, choices, and actions, and inspires others to do the same.

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