Summary: Faith...to be embalmed and put in a coffin for 359 years, stored possibly in someone's living room (what a conversation piece when friends come over), all because of a promise. Will you have enough faith so you will not be left behind?
24 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
25 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.
26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Taking a brief look at Jacob’s life before we look at Joseph’s life, shows us that Jacob lived to be 147 years old according to Genesis chapter 47. Jacob was 130 years old when he came into the land of Egypt. He entered Egypt the 2nd year of the famine and there were 5 years left of the famine. This means that after the famine, Jacob lived another 12 years after the famine had ended.
But this lesson looks at the tremendous faith that Joseph had in God’s promises. When Joseph was brought before the pharaoh, he was 30 years old. It was then that the 7 years of plenty began. After the 7 years of plenty, there were 2 years of famine before rest of Israel came into Egypt. Genesis chapter 50 tells us that Joseph lived to be 110 years old. 30 + 7 + 2 = 39. 110 – 39 = 71 years that Joseph lived after Israel came into Egypt. And it was 66 years that he lived after the famine ended. The children of Israel, according to Exodus chapter 12, sojourned in Egypt for 430 years. So Joseph lived 71 of those years. And that means that for 359 years, his body laid around waiting for Israel to journey back into the Promise Land. Just to put that into perspective, does anyone know who was president of the United States 359 years ago?
Of course, that is a trick question. The year would be 1655 (from 2014). That is way before the first president of the United States of America. I looked up people and events of the year 1655, and I did not recognize anything.
Now, on February 2, 1653, New Amsterdam is incorporated. Has anyone ever been to New Amsterdam? It was later renamed New York.
What I am trying to show you is that the passing of 359 years is a lot of water under the bridge. Most of your ancestors probably were still over in Europe, or wherever they originated. And where are they buried now?
I am telling you all of this to show you that Joseph had faith that Israel was coming back out of Egypt and he wanted his body to be buried in the land of Promise, not in a Strange Land. And the amount of time that actually past was astounding when we stop and think about how many generations that covers. If you would say that from the time that a baby is born to when he has his first born is about 25 years, and you call that one generation, then there would have been approximately 11 generations before they were packing their bags to leave. That is nine “greats” in front of “grandfather”.
Do you know who your great, great, great, - great, great, great, - great, great, great grandfather was? And what is even weirder than that is to think that someone was storing his embalmed body in a coffin in their living room. You talk about a conversation piece when you have company over. Not too many people have a 359 year old filled coffin in their living room.