We’ve gotten up close and personal with Joseph and his family over the last number of days (if you have been reading this sequentially as I write). Today closes the chapter on Joseph’s life, and the book of Genesis. Looking back over the last 50 chapters, we have covered a huge span of years and met lots of Bible heroes. I have always been amazed at how one book could contain so much history. Joseph’s story has always been a favorite of mine.
We can learn so much from Joseph. He was above all faithful to his God. To our God. Accordingly, he was always protected and people recognized how God walked with him. I don’t know about you, but I hope that people notice that about me. If they ask why I am always so happy, I say it’s because I have a Savior who loves me no matter what.
Up until the end, Joseph was full of integrity. His brothers feared he would hurt them once Jacob was no longer there to see. But Joseph wasn’t like that. He was also true to his word and made sure Jacob was returned to Canaan. As he promised Pharaoh, he also returned to Egypt where he and his family lived out the remainder of their lives.
It must have been quite a funeral procession for Jacob from Goshen to Canaan. Not only did all of Jacob’s family go, but all of Pharoah’s officials, senior members of Pharoah’s household, and all senior officers. Many chariots such that they were recognized as “Egyptians” in mourning.
We see funeral processions that go on for blocks here in Mexico. Everyone is on foot following the casket, usually elaborately decorated, en route to the burial site. In the United States, vehicles carry the casket and a stream of cars can be seen following to the graveside. Different yet the same. We still honor the dead.
Yet, for us with faith in Jesus knowing we’ll spend eternity with him, we know it only our physical body that remains. Our soul and self have gone to be with Jesus. What must have it been like for the faithful before Jesus? What did they believe happened at death? Even for people today there is fear surrounding that moment. Even believers have fear.
Fear of the unknown is certainly a viable fear. Some people are invigorated by adventure. I would say I fall into that category. I couldn’t have moved abroad to Mexico if there wasn’t a bit of adventure inside me. How about you? Do you like to try new things and live on the wild side a bit? Or are you content to keep everything status quo and be secure?
The final thought to ponder is how God used what was meant for harm to be good. Joseph himself called it out. Perhaps it was God’s plan all along. We are not meant to question God here. But we should take refuge in the fact that God can use all situations, even the hopeless ones. I may be singled out as a “Pollyanna” (an overly cheerful, positively optimistic person), but I like it that way. I like to say I’m relying on God to work it out and overly confident that he will.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for how you’ve gifted me with a spirit of optimism. I trust you with my life. Troubles come, but you are bigger than any trouble I will ever face. It is in those times I want to grow stronger and closer to you. May my life reflect the integrity of Joseph and devotion to you. Wash away any fear that may creep in and try to sidetrack me from my true mission. I trust you for all the provision I receive and give you glory for what you are doing in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.