“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.” – Genesis 50:24-25
Joseph’s is a most fascinating life. Loved by his father as a child but hated by his brothers. Sold as a slave into the land of Egypt where he was cared for by God but falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten for a time. Later, by God’s grace, Joseph is promoted by the Pharaoh of Egypt to an incredibly powerful position in the country and placed in charge of the agriculture and commerce.
During a time of great famine Jacob, Joseph’s father, sends his sons to Egypt to by corn in the only place that seems to have any. Jacob’s sons go and stand before Joseph, although they did not recognize him. Through the course of events, Joseph will reveal himself to his brothers and they will bow before him as he had dreamed many years prior. Joseph will call for his father and the rest of the family to come to Egypt where he will be able to help supply for their needs.
When Jacob dies, Joseph asks permission from Pharaoh to go into Canaan to bury his father and not only is he granted permission but Pharaoh sends an entourage with him. Joseph will return to Egypt along with his brothers, but they are afraid that he will take vengeance on them for selling him into slavery, now that their father is dead. Joseph of course calms their fears, acknowledging that it was part of God’s plan for good.
Now Joseph is about to die, but before he does, he makes his brothers promise him something. He believes that God will keep His promise to bring Israel out of Egypt some day. He makes them to promise that when that day comes they will carry his bones out of Egypt with them. It mattered to Joseph where he was buried.
What was the meaning of this request? Why did it matter where Joseph was buried?
Joseph was making an incredible statement:
“I have lived most of my life in Egypt.”
“I speak the language of the Egyptians.”
“I have worked in the land of Egypt.”
“I have become wealthy in the land of Egypt.”
“I have had friends in Egypt.”
“I wear Egyptian made clothes.
“I eat the food provided in Egypt.”
“I AM NOT AN EGYPTIAN!”
“I am a son of Jacob! I am an Hebrew. I am one of God’s chosen people!”
My friend, we may live in this world, we may eat here, work here, and even sometimes play here, but we are not to be “of this world.” We need to realize and make it clearly known, “this world is not my home.”
Joseph chose who he was associated with; the people he identified with. You must make that choice also. Where will your bones be buried? Who do you belong with? Which group of people are your people; those of this world, or the people of God? It matters where your bones are buried! Make the choice to be counted among the people of God.