“Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He said, ‘God will surely come to you. Then you must carry my bones up from this place.’ So Joseph died at the age of 110. After they embalmed him, his body was placed in a coffin in Egypt” (Genesis 50:25-26, New English Translation).
Joseph was only seventeen years old when his brothers sold him as a slave and he was carried into Egypt. Many great lessons are learned from his life—integrity, perseverance, forgiveness. These are all notable characteristics, but his testimony does not stop there. One of the greatest lessons comes from his dying request: “Take my bones with you when you go home.”
Joseph’s instructions concerning his bones seem a minor detail in a bigger story. Only a few verses in Scripture make mention of his unusual request, but those verses reveal his great faith. This was more than a “minor detail.”
“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (Hebrews 11:22, English Standard Version).
His request meant more than just wanting to be buried at home. It showed an unwavering faith that God keeps His promises—even if it takes 400 years. The Israelites did not forget. When the time came to depart Egypt, they remembered their oath to take Joseph’s bones with them.
“The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the part of the field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money. So it became the inheritance of the tribe of Joseph” (Joshua 24:32, NET).
Have you ever become discouraged and wondered if God has forgotten His promises to you? Have you prayed for the salvation of a loved one, but they seem even farther away from God? Have you sought God about a broken relationship, financial hardship, infertility, a wayward child, a serious illness? Waiting is difficult and at times discouraging. But God is faithful, and His timing is perfect.
When the Israelites suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, weary and discouraged with their harsh living conditions, did someone suddenly remember? Did they remind each other, “Remember Joseph! Remember what he said? God is going to deliver us—we’re going to leave this place! That’s why he told us to carry his bones home with us.”
It happened—just as God promised, just as Joseph believed. That coffin remained in Egypt for hundreds of years after Joseph’s death, but deliverance came. God kept His promise.
Will He do any less for you?
If God promised it, He will perform it.
Prayer: Lord, help me to never become discouraged while I wait for Your promises to be fulfilled. When moments of doubt come, let faith flood my soul and push those doubts away. You have never broken a promise, and You never will. You are faithful, and I trust you to perform it.