"And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence" (Genesis 50:25).
Joseph was a man of great faith. He never wavered, amidst a dysfunctional home, betrayal by jealous brothers, slavery in a foreign land, wrongful imprisonment, and the seduction of sudden power and authority. Yet of all the great acts of faith recorded for us in Genesis, Hebrews 11 singles out one for special mention: "By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones" (v.22). Joseph had spent his entire adult life in Egypt. His family, work, and familiar surroundings were all there. His peers and associates had been buried in grand sepulchers amidst the splendid architecture of ancient Egypt. Canaan was a distant place of bad memories and desolate fields by comparison. Yet Joseph knew that it was the promised land and would enjoy the presence of God.
Believers today live, toil, and have friends upon Earth. But there is a place to which we should desire to be carried up. Identifying with the faith of Joseph, we can enjoy the same reward that Christ discussed in Luke 16. He told of a poor man named Lazarus: "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom" (v.22). Indeed there is a day coming when all who have lived by faith will have their bodies raised and will be carried up. "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). DW