Summary: Faith and Obedience kept these men of faith focus for the future and the promises of God.
Hebrew 11:22 "By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones."
In the faith Hall of Fame one verse each is given to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. It reminds us that there is something in common that links these three heros of faith in the mind of the writer of Hebrew. By faith each of these three was able to face the future courage and optimism.
Genuine faith enables a person to look forward and to see the future as under the government of God and blessed with the presence of God.
Isaac pronounced his blesssing upon Jacob shortly after he had said, "Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death." (Gen 48:21)
Because of this faith that enabled him to visualize the future, Jacob blessed Joseph and his sons with the following words:
"God, before whom my father Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst fo the earth." (Gen 48:15-16)
His faith was like a telescope by which he could look into the future and see the protential of the decisions and the actions of the moment.
When Joseph, the Prime Minister of Egypt, near death, he required of the Israelites an oath that they would not leave his bones in Egypt. They promised that they would take his bones with them when they returned to the Promised Land. They were faithful to this oath, and four hundred years later took his coffin back to the land God has promised. (Exodus 24:32)
In Joshua 24:32, we find that when the children of Israel got to the promised land they took the coffin case that contains Joseph’s bones and buried it in Shechem. This was the ground that Jacob his father bought from the sons of Hamor for 100 pieces of silver.
All these men died with their face to the future. THEY TRUSTED GOD, THEY WALKED WITH GOD, THEY TALKED WITH GOD and THEY OBEYED GOD.
Even though they have these blessed experiences, they never fully entered into the inheritance that God had promised, yet their faith kept them looking to the future.
By the oath that Joseph required of the children of Israel and by the presences of his mummy case, he continued to bear witness concerning his optimistic, forward-looking faith. As Able’s life continued to speak after his death, so Joseph continue to speak to the people by means of his mummy case.
1. Joseph’s Mummy Case Reminded them that they were THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
a) Joseph could have had a splendid monument among the Egyptians.
Like no other people in the ancient world, the Egyptians believed in magnificent monuments and burial chambers for the departed great. Because of the unique contribution that Joseph had made, he could have aasumed that he would be enshrined among the greatest in Egypt.
b) Joseph desired to be identified with the people of God even in his death.
He had no desire for Egypt to be the final resting place for his bones. He wanted to accompany his people in their return to and entrance into the land that was to be their inheritance. By means of this wish he gave expression to his faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He deliberately chose to disassociate himself from Egypt, its rules, its gods, and its customs even beyond death.
With all of their faults, the Israelites were the people of God, and Joseph wanted to remind them of this relationship constantly. Joseph believed that as the people of God, they should be different from the Egyptians. For them to become a people that God wanted them to be, they would need to be reminded of their relationship with Him and for the application that accompanied that privilege.
Today as in few instances in the past, the church as the people of God is under attack. It is being criticized and maligned. While much of this criticism is deserved, it might be encouraging if we will recognize that God’s people have never been perfect. They are always journeying toward becoming God’s ideal people. By means of his mummy case, Joseph would not only have his bones returned, but he would remind the people that they are of God in a very special way.
2. Joseph’s mummy case is a constant reminder of the PROMISES OF GOD.
a) God had made some great promises to Abraham and his descendants.
Gen 12:1-3, records one of those promises that God made with Abraham. These promises had been repeated to Isaac and Jacob. The people of Israel had responded to these promises and walked by faith, though weakly at times, and expected the fulfillment of these promises.