“And Joseph said to his brothers, I’m about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land, to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear saying, God will surely visit you and you shall carry up my bones from here.” -Genesis 50:24–25
Right after Joseph said those words he died. So why would his last words be carry up my bones from here? Why is that so significant? We know it’s significant because Hebrews chapter 11 looks back to this moment and says, by faith, Joseph at the end of his life made mention of the Exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. Oh, don’t miss the picture here. Why? Joseph’s instructions about his bones demonstrated Joseph’s faith in God.
God has called all of us to live our lives and die all the while we fix our eyes on Christ in faith.
By this point, as we’ve read in Genesis, the people of Israel, people of Jacob had multiplied greatly in Egypt and Joseph could have said, “Hey, you’re going to stay here and multiply greatly.” Instead, though, Joseph knew God had promised to bring his people back to the land of Canaan, the promised land. As he lies there on his death bed, he is looking forward in faith to what God has promised. Specifically, to a future land that God has promised. Can I say that one more time? Just let it soak in. As Joseph lies there on his death bed, he looks forward in faith to a future land that God has promised.
In this picture, we see how every single one of us who has trusted in Jesus is called to die. When we face death, to look forward with faith to the future land that God has promised to us. Is this not awesome? I think about people I know who have received diagnoses, prognoses that apart from a miraculous intervention from God, will soon find themselves breathing their last breath, but they can know. And they do know.
I think about one brother that I’m thinking of right now, who knows beyond the shadow of a doubt. When the doctor told Ben Fairfax that he had a diagnosis, prognosis, that would be a matter of weeks, he looked back at the doctor with peace in his eyes and he quoted John 3:16. He said, “I have peace because I know that God so loved the world, he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will never perish, but have everlasting life.”
That’s looking forward in faith to a land that God has promised. And this is the way God has called us all to live and eventually all to die. Looking forward in faith.
God, we praise you. We praise you for John 3:16. We praise you for the core message of the gospel that you loved the world. You loved us so much that you gave your son, that whoever believes in him, whoever trusts in Jesus as savior and Lord will never perish, but will have everlasting life. God, we praise you that death is not the end. That when we breathe our last breath, for all who have trusted in you, that we will enter into a promised land. A land that’s better than the land of Canaan flowing with milk and honey.
A land where there is no more sin, no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more death. Where our bodies will one day be fully resurrected to enjoy a new heaven and a new earth for all of eternity. All glory be to your name for the land that’s coming. We look forward to the land that’s coming.
So God, we pray. We pray for each of our lives, you would help us all to live by faith and to die by faith. God, we pray for Ben. We pray for every brother or sister who’s received a diagnosis, prognosis like Ben has received. God, we pray that you’d help them receive it in faith. God, we know not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so help us to live by faith today. Help us to look forward with faith today.
And God, help us to share the gospel with urgency today, with people around us. That others might know this everlasting life. God, that others might be able to face death with joy, with hope, with peace with John 3:16-like solid foundation. God, we pray that you would help us to share the gospel today. Use us to lead somebody to Jesus today, we pray. Help us not to be silent with John 3:16 in our hearts.
God, we pray this for people groups around the world, like the Mayo in India, 0.0% of these 300,000 people know you as savior and Lord. They don’t know. Nobody’s even told them John 3:16. God, may John 3:16 be made known among the Mayo people of India.
God, please cause this good news of a promised land that’s coming, a new heaven and a new earth made possible through the blood of Jesus on a cross who died for our sins and risen from the grave. May this gospel go forward today through our lives and go forward today among the nations as we all look forward in faith to what you have prepared for us.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen. View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan here.