Joseph’s final words to his brothers in Genesis do a couple of things for me – they predict that God will bring Israel out of Egypt, generations before it happens; and they remind me that my citizenship is not in a physical nation on earth. I am a citizen of heaven…
22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived a hundred and ten years 23 and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children. Also the children of Makir son of Manasseh were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees.
24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “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.” 25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”
26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.
I never noticed before how Joseph prophesied the exodus in his last words to this brothers. It is amazing how something so good (moving to Egypt to avoid the famine) could turn into something so terrible (generations of slavery) before God’s rescue.
After Jacob, there is not re-affirmation of the covenant with a specific son (like there was with Isaac and Abraham). The promise of God is spreading out to the twelve tribes as descendents of Jacob. The promise is a return ‘home’.
And even though Joseph had spent over 90 years in Egypt, home was the land of Canaan, which is where he wanted to be buried. That’s where his father was, and that’s where God promised to grant them their settlement.
I don’t have that same sense of where I want to be after death. I know that my citizenship is in heaven, and my physical bones are a remnant of my flesh. I couldn’t care less where they end up. Dust to dust. The important thing for me is to be with the Lord.
The presence of God is with me now on earth, and I will be in his presence when I leave this place…