“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions about his burial” (Hebrews 11:22 NET).
Some four thousand years ago, a dying man made his final request. That request (and the reason behind it) serves as a kind of beacon from the distant past, quietly transmitting the coordinates that guide the way back for those who have journeyed far from home…
“‘Soon I will die,’ Joseph told his brothers, ‘but God will surely come to help you and lead you out of this land of Egypt. He will bring you back to the land he solemnly promised to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath, and he said, ‘When God comes to help you and lead you back, you must take my bones with you'” (Genesis 50:24-25 NLT).
Perhaps we may awake one day to find that our lives no longer have any meaning, relevance, purpose, or direction. We might find that we have gained everything we ever wanted and come to the realization that it isn’t enough. Maybe we have sacrificed our lives to support an organization, only to find that the organization never regarded us as anything more than just a number.
Perhaps we will see the wreckage that resulted from a friend or family member’s unprincipled decision. Or maybe our lives have been negatively impacted by the decisions and mistakes of others, or events that were out of our control. If we ever reach those points in our lives, we would do well to listen to the message that has been quietly broadcasting through the words of Genesis 50:24-25. That message is simple: return home.
You see, Joseph was a long way from where he started. He was far from the place where God had spoken to his ancestors. He had been immersed in a culture that had no use for the God of the Scriptures. But Joseph never forgot where he came from, and his last request expressed a desire to return home.
If the journey of life takes us far from Christ, it would serve us well to remember where we came from. Maybe we’ve traveled to a place where we shouldn’t have gone. Perhaps our life story has not unfolded as we thought it would. We may be far from the place where we first met God; but like Joseph, we can go home again. Joseph knew where he ultimately belonged- his place was among the people who believed in, and followed, the one true God. That is where we belong as well.