Testimony of Bones
Several weeks ago our Vacation Bible School was about the experience of Joseph in Egypt. Joseph demonstrated incredible faith in God during his life. But what interesting is how even after his death, his bones also served as a witness to others.
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." And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place."
- Genesis 50:24-25 NIV
Being an Egyptian ruler, Joseph's body would have been mummified and encased in a sarcophagus. But Joseph didn't want his bones remaining in Egypt. Instead, on his deathbed, he makes his family vow to bring his body with them when God moves them to the Promised Land. So do they honor his last wishes?
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, "God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place."
- Exodus 13:19 NIV
Think about it. During the whole Exodus experience of plagues falling and slaves hurriedly fleeing Egypt, someone had to remember to go to the tomb of Joseph and bring his coffin along! When the people escaped through the Red Sea, there was Joseph's body passing through the Red Sea too. When the manna fell from the sky and God spoke His Ten Commandments over Mount Siani, there was Joseph's body with the rest of the camp. When the people complained and wandered 40 years, Joseph's body was out there in the wilderness with them. Did Joseph's body ever get buried in the Promised Land like he wanted?
And Joseph's bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph's descendants.
- Joshua 24:32 NIV
What a fantastic testimony Joseph left behind! Through all those years of misplacement and battles, Joseph's bones continued to serve as a silent witness of God's faithfulness. The same is true for you and me. Our witness for God does not cease once our life is concluded, but our faith will continue to be demonstrated to future generations. The story of Joseph's bones certainly made an impression on the Apostle Paul. Of all the things he could have chosen to list to illustrate Joseph's lifestyle of faith, he actually picked the story regarding his bones.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
- Hebrews 11:22