BY JENNIFER VANDER KLIPP
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. Hebrews 11:22 (NIV)
Joseph’s faith reminds me of Nancy. While I didn’t know Nancy, I’ve seen her faith. Nancy was dying of cancer when she felt God telling her to write. She didn’t know why, but she obeyed. After her death, her son found a wonderful legacy in her writings. They touched him so deeply that he shared them with others and had them published. Nancy never saw the fruit of her obedience in this life but her faithfulness has already touched many people.
Joseph was also dying. So at first it doesn’t seem remarkable that he gave instructions about what to do with his body after his death (Genesis 50:24, 25). But Joseph’s instructions spoke about an event that would take place 400 years in the future! The Israelites were still in Egypt, had no leader, and no plans to go to the Promised Land. Yet Joseph said that he wanted them to take his bones with them when they go. He knew that God had promised them this land and he held to that promise in faith, even though the circumstances did not remotely indicate that this promise was coming true any time soon.
After a life of difficulties and hardships, Joseph had risen to a high position in Egypt, even though he was a Hebrew. He could have regarded Egypt as his home and requested a large funeral and ornate tomb. But he remained a Hebrew at heart, taking God at His promise. By requesting a burial in the Promised Land, he was saying that even though he wouldn’t live to see it, he had absolute faith the Israelites would get there.
That is the kind of faith the writer of Hebrews wants us to have. Many believers, like Joseph and Nancy, didn’t see God’s promises fulfilled while they lived. Yet they were still faithful. God wants us to have faith in Him regardless of our circumstances. Just because we can’t see how a situation could possibly work out, doesn’t mean it won’t. God’s perspective is so much bigger than ours. Aren’t you glad it is? Ask God to show you where you need to step out in faith . . .and then do it!