Monday, May 15, 2017
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.” Exodus 13:19(NLT)
Leaving Egypt the people of God carried off all their belongings, much of Egyptian wealth, and the bones of Joseph. Aside from keeping a 400 year-old promise to Jacob’s son who had managed to feed and protect Abraham’s tribe during the worst famine ever, why would you move a dead man’s bones? Was the dead man watching? The short answer is “yes”. At church yesterday our text was Revelation 6:9-11, and therein we have strong evidence that the departed are, indeed watching. They are part of the great cloud of witnesses we read about in the New Testament. (Hebrews 12:1)
So why did Joseph, who lived most of his life in Egypt, want his bones carried away when the children left? The first answer is that Joseph understood the concept of being an alien. He was brought to Egypt by the caravan of merchants who had bought him from his own jealous brothers. He didn’t belong there! But Joseph also understood God’s promise to his great-grandfather, Abraham.
Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land… Genesis 15:5, 13-16a(NLT)
As a highly-favored child in Jacob’s household, Joseph would have heard these words often; he knew the promises of God to Abraham extended to his son, Isaac, and his son, Jacob, and, to his son, Joseph. The promise of God gets deep in your bones!
For Joseph it was a life-long dream to return to the place of God’s promise; it was natural to want to go home. But, in the final analysis, the promise made to Joseph about taking his bones back to the Promised Land was a matter of faith and fidelity. He knew that God’s promise was where his true home could be found.
And nothing less!
Where is your home? Is it some place for which you worked, scrambled to pay a mortgage, and now have your name on the deed? Or is it a place deep in your bones, based on a promise, and sealed with blood that trickled down a cross?
And nothing less…or more?