It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.
The Story of Joseph is one of absolute faith and trust in an Almighty God regardless of the circumstances. What is amazing is that twenty-five percent of Genesis is devoted to the life of Joseph yet the Book of Hebrews records nothing of his pit, prison or palace experiences. Only Hebrews 11:22 mentions Joseph as it references his command concerning his bones. Joseph was a mighty man and a leader’s leader, yet it was his faith revealed as he spoke about his bones, that qualified him to join the ranks of the leaders in the Hall of Fame of Faith (Hebrews 11). It’s not really about what we go through that is important but what we believe because of who we look too. While Joseph was gathered with his children and grandchildren, he began speaking about the divine plan of God for him, his family and for his nation. He said to his family, “I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Genesis 50:24. Even when he was dying he was still focusing his family on the Father. Genesis begins with creation and ends with a casket but that is not the end. Joseph left a legacy of leadership because he relied on God’s:
Joseph understood that regardless of what circumstances may have dictated, God’s Word would come to pass. When Joseph said, “God will bring you out of this land,” the Israelites had no reason to want to leave Egypt. They were the most favored people in the nation, they were given the best food, the best land and the best living conditions. Pharaoh and everyone loved the Jews so for Joseph to talk about them someday leaving made no sense at the time. Yet Joseph knew that things would change and the time would come when his descendants would not be prosperous and free. Faith sees life through the lens of the Lord, scripture becomes the spectacles that we look at the world through. Today there is a tendency for Christians to reverse this and view the Word through the paradigm of the World instead of what God has already said. Real faith is not that we name it and claim it, but God said it and we believe it. Faith is believing what God said would be, even when it is not and believing until it comes to pass. So Joseph trusted and believed God even in what had not happened yet. Where there is no faith in the future there is no power in the present.
God’s power is unshakable regardless of the conditions, concerns, or chronology before or after us. We must remember that worry will wear us out and shorten our life while robbing us of joy. Faith isn’t having it figured out it’s having a Father that does and a faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Something that we seem to forget is that the first word in “testimony” is “test” and passing the test is part of the testimony. Delay does not mean denial, when God spoke to Habakkuk, he said pertaining to his vision, “If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place” Habakkuk 2:3. God does not wear a wrist watch to work, He operates in the fullness of time. I have come to discover that He is rarely early but He is never late. What Joseph knew was that God’s promises would come to pass whether he was alive to see it or not, because they were not dependent on Joseph’s power. When God places a vision in your heart it doesn’t always mean that you will hold it in your hand but He will.
Even while Joseph speaks of his date with death, he is enjoying his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Only God can give us peace in the passing, a peace that passes all understanding. Sometimes it is hard to describe peace but we know when we have it and when we don’t. Peace is a product of resting in God’s provision. Joseph was at peace but not with the place, because God’s promised provision was not Egypt. Why was Joseph not content to be buried in Egypt? Why was he so insistent on going with the Israelites when they did leave Egypt? Because he was not ok with settling for anything other than God’s planned best. Joseph was interested in being a part of what God was doing on the earth whether he was dead or alive. Can you say with integrity that you want to be a part of what God is doing today, regardless of whether or not you live to see all of if fulfilled in your lifetime? Joseph knew that God would keep his promises and wanted to go where He was taking his children in the future. Joseph understood what few of us do, that God’s work doesn’t end with us, Joseph looked forward with anticipation to the fulfilled promise. He lived his life in the sunrise of eternity not at the sunset of time. He viewed his life as having value to God in the now but also in the then. As the Israelites were exiting Egypt, Moses gave a commandment regarding the bones of Joseph (Exodus 13:18-19). He commanded hundreds of thousands of Israelites to stop as he asked, “Where are the bones of Joseph?” They didn’t have a casket committee but they should have been prepared because Joseph had warned them. I don’t think that Josephs casket was carried at the end of the procession as they left Egypt, but at the head of the line. This casket represented faith in God, what it communicated to God’s people was “I told you that God would fulfill His promise.” They carried his bones out of Egypt through the Red Sea around for more than 40 years of wilderness wanderings. The truth is that there was more faith in the bones of Joseph than in the feet of the Israelites. Moses would look at the Promised Land but Joseph would possess it even in his death. Today are you remembering the unbreakable promises of God, relying on the unshakable power of God and rest in the unmistakable peace of God?