Thursday, July 29, 2010

They Didn't Forget His Bones

image from Group VBS
This week has been a busy one putting onVBS for the 30-40 kids that have been coming every night. I surely appreciate how so many (from my church) have helped minister to all these kids.

The theme is taken from the story of Joseph in Genesis (chps. 37-50). For the last two years we have used the curriculum from Group Publishing, they really put out some good stuff for VBS. If you want to take a look at what they offer click here.

This year I was the chosen one to play Joseph:-) Everyday the kids learned one Bible point from Joseph's incredible journey. Such as 'God gives us hope', 'God gives us special abilities', and 'God helps us to forgive.' Yet there is another lesson that the VBS kids won't get this week. One that perhaps we need to reflect on here.

The last words of Joseph recorded just before the book of Genesis ends and are said to his brothers are these: "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." Then Moses (the writer of Genesis) tells us that Joseph also said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."

I don't have the room here to fully expound on the story of Joseph yet I highly urge you to take an evening before you go to bed and instead of watching some soapy (my invented word) show :-) read this story for it plays out to some extent like a soapy movie with a great ending.

So here's the lesson that I believe Joseph's story reminds me. Joseph though second in command of all of Egypt, having all the luxuries he could want, in need of nothing, being able to supply his family with everything never made Egypt is real home. He was always a pilgrim awaiting the land that God had for Him!

Joseph embalmed his father Jacob and at his earlier request was taken to Canaan to be buried. Joseph then makes a similar request that when God comes to their aid that they not forget his embalmed body and take him with them. Joshua 24:32 confirms that when God did come and deliver the Israelites from bondage and they took the land Joseph's 'bones' were taken with them and buried as requested. Interestingly enough in the book of Acts 7:14-16, Stephen is telling the story of Israel and he mentions essentially the same thing about  Joseph (and his father Jacob). Then in Hebrews 11:27 it says,

"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones."
It's no coincidence that Joseph's story is particularly mentioned in the well known chapter of faith in Hebrews and the fact that although much more could've been said about Joseph and his faith in Hebrews what is mentioned is one verse speaking about what he said right before his death.

The bible makes clear that Joseph though living in a land that had everything he need (even during the famine thanks to God) and more never forgot that Egypt was not his land. Our land here in the US of A with all it's 'stuff' is not our land, yes we praise God for what we have here and now, BUT it pales in comparison to what we'll receive in the land to come!

In the midst of your trials that you may be going through, in the midst of your victories and perhaps for some, great prosperity, don't forget God is in control and by faith we await our land that He has promised us.

By faith we will get there even if we're buried and all there is left of us is our bones (if that) when that time comes, Jesus will say, "Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matt. 25:34)

Do you yearn for that land or are you to content with living in Egypt?


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