by Kristen C. Strocchia
“By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.” Hebrews 11:22
During Joseph’s life, the Israelites were living in Goshen, a nice Egyptian neighborhood, where they were treated fairly and lived as freely as any Egyptian citizen. However, Egypt was not their home. So Joseph spoke about the exodus that would take place over 400 years after his death and left instructions to make sure that his bones were carried out and buried in his homeland.
This was not the first mention of the exodus in scriptures. In Genesis 15:12-16, when God made His covenant with Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham, He foretold that the Israelites would be foreigners and then slaves for 400 years. He also let Abraham know about the good things that would happen when his descendants came out of this slavery.
No doubt Abraham told his promised son, Isaac, what God had said concerning their descendants, as well as about the promised inheritance. And Isaac told his son Jacob who told his sons, including Joseph, who now told the story with the promise again to the generation after him. And for 400 years of slavery, the Israelites faithfully passed down the family history of God’s promise and Joseph’s request to take his bones with when the time came.
In Joshua 24:32 we see that the Israelites kept this inherited responsibility–just as God kept His covenant with Abraham–and they buried Joseph’s bones in his homeland–the Promised Land.
We who have accepted Christ have also been adopted into Abraham’s inheritance [Galatians 3:29]. We too have a story to tell and a promise to pass on. Like Abraham and Joseph, God has already told us what will happen in the end, both times of great tribulation and of great blessing [see Revelation]. By faith–absolute certainty in what we hope for, but cannot see–we too can leave instructions about what to do when Christ returns for us; though if we have told the story faithfully, hopefully those we know will also have accepted Christ and left with us.
Are you telling the gospel story to everyone you know? Are you giving each person you encounter an opportunity to choose eternal life? Aren’t you glad that someone was faithful to tell you the story again and give you that opportunity?