Genesis 50:22-26: Ending well (again!)

“Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees. 24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.’26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.” NIV

‘Commit your life to God, see vision, do the work that’s nearest, the work He appoints, truly and well and faithfully, and die knowing that you have started delicate influences, dynamic forces which will proceed through every succeeding generation until they gather up the harvest of glorious result about the throne of the Eternal. The man of God has not finished his work in the world when they put him in a coffin.’ G. Campbell Morgan.

Over the new year I watched a fascinating documentary about Raymond Briggs, the author and cartoonist responsible for such beloved books as ‘the Snowman’. Someone said that Briggs was obsessed with the thought of death. But another friend commented that it’s more that he’s acutely aware that death is a part of life. This is not surprising when you realise that he lost his mother, then his father, then his first wife in the space of eighteen months. He admitted that as you get older (he’s now in his 80’s) you inevitably think more about the end.

Well, as we close our (just over) year-long journey through ‘Genesis’, we are again confronted with the fact that: ‘death is the ultimate statistic: one out of one dies!’ Even the greatest human heroes of the Bible were mortal. But we also see again someone ending well. His final words were about God. Like his own father, Jacob, he died in faith, trusting in the promises of God, and was able to prophesy about the future. He emphasised what he deeply knew, saying it twice: ‘’God will surely come to your aid…’’ He knew that the Israelites would get out of Egypt, and when that happened, he wanted to be buried in the promised land – again, just like his dad.

‘He makes them promise him with an oath that they would bury him in Canaan. In Egypt they buried their great men very honourably and with abundance of pomp; but Joseph prefers a significant burial in Canaan, and that deferred too almost 200 years, before a magnificent one in Egypt. Thus Joseph, by faith in the doctrine of the resurrection and the promise of Canaan, gave commandment concerning his bones, Heb. 11:22. He dies in Egypt; but lays his bones at stake that God will surely visit Israel, and bring them to Canaan.’

PRAYER: Lord, help us to live with confidence in your help, and encourage others with the faith you enable us to have.