Genesis 50:1-14: Keeping your word.

“Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, “My father made me swear an oath and said, ‘I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.”’Pharaoh said, ‘Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.’So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him – the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt – besides all the members of Joseph’s household and his brothers and those belonging to his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen. Chariots and horsemen[a] also went up with him. It was a very large company.10 When they reached the threshing-floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father. 11 When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing-floor of Atad, they said, ‘The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.’ That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.[b]12 So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 13 they carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.” NIV

It’s a simple point, but Joseph (and his brothers) kept their word to their father. Spirituality involves such loyalty and faithfulness. Psalm 15:4 speaks well of those who ‘’keep their promises even when it hurts’’ (New Living Translation).  In the end, it seems to me that Jacob, who wanted a simple burial back in Canaan, got the best of an Egyptian funeral thrown in too. (Doesn’t it go that way when you ‘’Seek first’’ the kingdom of God? Other things get added in also).

In fact, this simple nomad ended up having what looks close to a state funeral. God takes the things that are not and uses them to bring to nothing the things that are (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). He does surprising things with unremarkable people.

One further thought: when the funeral is over, life has to go on (5,14). There are duties to resume. You have not died; you have work still to do; you have a ministry to fulfil. You may be sure that whatever God asks of you, His grace will enable.