Joseph Also Viewing the Future, by Faith
By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. (Hebrews 11:22)
When Isaac and Jacob pronounced blessings upon their posterity, they exemplified viewing the future, by faith. When Joseph requested that his bones some day be buried in the land of promise, he was also viewing the future, by faith.
Joseph's journey to leadership in Egypt was marked with alternating battles and blessings. His brothers had betrayed him and sold him into slavery. "Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers...sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt" (Genesis 37:28). Soon, Joseph found blessing under the care of Potiphar, an Egyptian captain who purchased him. "And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand" (Genesis 39:3-4).
Yet, another battle arose. Joseph was imprisoned by the lies of Potiphar's wife, who resented Joseph's refusal of her sensual advances." 'He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice'...Then Joseph's master took him and put him into the prison" (Genesis 39:14, 20). More blessing came as the Lord granted Joseph favor with the prison keeper. "And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners...because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it prosper" (Genesis 39:22-23). Another battle ensued, as one of Pharoah's servants forgot Joseph's kindness to him in prison. "The chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream" (Genesis 40:23-41:1). Two years later, Joseph's interpretation of Pharoah's dream would bring Joseph to his position of authority in Egypt. "You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you" (Genesis 41:40).
Faith in the Lord certainly sustained Joseph and brought him to God's desired place of service and opportunity. Yet, our present verse reveals that Joseph's basic interest was not his own blessing and advancement. Joseph had a heart for the plans and purposes of God. As he viewed the future, he was convinced that the Lord would some day bring His people back to the land of promise. His request to have his bones buried in the land of promise was an expression of his faith in the promises of God. "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here" (Genesis 50:25).
Lord God of eternity, as I alternate between the battles and blessings of life, help me to view the future by faith. Remind me that Your everlasting purposes can guide and shape my temporal circumstances, in Jesus' name, Amen.