Monday, April 19, 2021

2021.04.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 50:22–26

Read Genesis 50:22–26

Questions from the Scripture text: Where did Joseph dwell (Genesis 50:22)? With whom? To what age did he live? Whom did he see (Genesis 50:23)? To how many generations? Who were brought up on Joseph’s knees? To whom does Joseph speak in Genesis 50:24? What does he say is happening to him? Whom does he say will visit them? Out of where will God bring them? Into what land will He bring them? What does Joseph “take” from them in Genesis 50:25? What are they called in this verse? What does He say will surely happen? What does Joseph put them under oath to do? What does Joseph do in Genesis 50:26? At what age? What do they do to him? Into what do they put him? Where?

Joseph’s story isn’t over. His life ended well. It seems to have been a blessed final 53 years or so of his life (Genesis 50:23). But that’s not why we are saying that his life ended well. Actually, Joseph’s story hasn’t ended. “I am dying,” he says (Genesis 50:24), but that isn’t the end. He wants his bones carried back to the promised land. Or, to use the language of the text, the “sworn” land. He intends to resume use of them at some point, and would like to do so from there. If your life is going to be lived well, it must be lived by faith in Him who is destroying sin and death. If your life is going to be lived well, it must be lived with a confident hope in the coming resurrection.

Israel’s story wasn’t over. It can feel like the story is over after a long, “golden” age. Or when a great figure dies. Moments like the death of Joseph, the death of Moses, or the death of Uzziah can feel like the foundations are coming out from under God’s people. So when Moses dies, there is a great emphasis on the Lord still being with Joshua and Israel. And when Uzziah dies, the Lord gives Isaiah a vision of Himself still seated upon the throne. 

And here when Joseph is dying, he emphasizes that God will visit them, repeating it in back to back verses. In both cases, the verb is emphasized by its doubling as well: “visiting, God will visit you.” Joseph wants them to do something with his bones; he’s going to put them under oath to do it. But the bones are not the emphasis of his dying speech. Joseph is not done with his bones, but his emphasis is upon the God Who is not done with His people.

Death’s story will soon be over. Sarcophaguses (Egyptian coffins) weren’t part of the original design. When God said “very good” there was no sin or death. But sin entered through Adam and death through sin. So the book started in paradise in Eden, and it ends “in a coffin in Egypt.” But sin’s days are numbered. God had said, “dying you shall die.” That has certainly proven true. But it is not just God’s threats that are true. All of His words are perfectly reliable. So yes, He will bring them out of the land. And yes, they will be afflicted until then (cf. Genesis 15:13). 

But these words will also be true: “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3) and “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). The last enemy to be destroyed will be death (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:26). Genesis ends “in a coffin in Egypt,” but Genesis is not the end. It is just the beginning.

So, as Joseph dies, he dies clinging relentlessly to the God Who relentlessly keeps His promises. And, his last act of loving care for his family is to set that God before them, so that they may live the way Joseph is dying: clinging relentlessly to the God Who relentlessly keeps His promises.

What promises has God made for this life, that you should be living by? What promises has He made for eternity?

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH243 “How Firm a Foundation”

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