So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. Genesis 50:22-26 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.
By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 11:1-2, 22, 39-12:2 ESV
On a hill in Hong Kong there’s a rock formation called Amah Rock, and it looks very much like a mother with a baby on her back. The legend about this rock is that there was once a fisherman and his wife, and they had a beautiful baby boy. One day the fisherman went to sea in his boat, and then there was an accident and he was swept overboard and drowned. His wife didn’t know what had happened, and she kept going to the top of the hill every day, looking for her husband’s boat and waiting for him to come back. She kept looking for her husband every day for months, until finally the sea goddess had pity on her and turned her and her baby boy into the rock formation called the Amah Rock. People look at the Amah Rock as a reminder of this wife’s faithfulness and continued hope.
Joseph died in Egypt, away from the promised land. His body was embalmed and kept by the people of Israel. Joseph commanded that they keep his body with them as a reminder of God’s promise. When their life in Egypt became difficult, Joseph’s body was there to remind them of the promise that someday God would bring them back to the land of Canaan. For many years the people waited for God’s help, and sometimes they might have thought that their waiting was hopeless. Joseph didn’t live to see the fulfillment of God’s promise, but the people of Israel brought his body along when God brought them home many years later.
Many people through the ages waited for God’s greatest promise to come true. They gave witness to God’s faithfulness and to the promised Savior they were waiting for, but they never saw him. It was only when the right time came that God sent Jesus. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to bring us back to God. We have Jesus, and we know that in him God has kept all of the promises he made to his people so long ago. Someday we’ll meet Joseph and all of God’s faithful people in heaven. They will see all of God’s love and glory there along with us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping all your promises, especially your promise to send Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.