Joseph’s Bones

Jacob's Bones
Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Genesis 50:14-26 And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. 15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. 22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father’s house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph’s knees. 24 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. 25 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. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

The Book Of Genesis Begins With A Disobedient
Believer, And Closes With An Obedient Believer

I love the Book of Genesis. It shows us the pattern to follow for blessing, and the path to travel to cursing. Genesis begins with blessing, as God creates all things. But it moves to cursing when man rejects God, and chooses his own path.

The Apostle sums up the first part of human history by saying,

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

Throughout Genesis, we see those who dishonor God and follow Him to blessing. But the Book ends with a positive example, A man by the name of Joseph. A man who, though tried, nearly as much as Job was tried, kept his eyes on the Lord Jesus. Beloved,

Trials can make you BITTER, but if you are in Christ,
trials should make you BETTER.

Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob, who would one day become Israel.

Genesis 37:3-5 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. 4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, THEY HATED HIM, AND COULD NOT SPEAK PEACEABLY UNTO HIM. 5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

Joseph was PREFERRED over his brothers by his daddy, Jacob. When a parent prefers one child over another, this can lead to bullying in the family. Jacob was bullied. They COULD NOT speak peaceably unto Joseph. Not WOULD not, but COULD not. Bad parenting makes good bullying. Being bullied, Joseph looked to God. I have heard it said that…

God lives at the end of Desperation Street.

Being bullied makes you desperate. Joseph hid himself in God, so much so that God began to speak to him in visions. God gave Joseph a dream in which it appeared he would rule over his brothers. In verse 9 we are told Joseph dreamed another dream, and in this dream his entire family was going to bow down to him. God promised Joseph he would be lifted up. Joseph lifted God up, and God would lift Joseph up!

Before there was Scripture, God spoke to His people in dreams.

  • God came to Abraham in a dream, saying “Do not be afraid. I am a shield to you, and your reward will be great” (Genesis 15:1)
  • God came to Israel (Jacob) in a dream, calling “Jacob, Jacob” (Genesis 46:2)
  • Pharaoh would later in our story have a dream (Genesis 41:1-7), a dream that would bless both Jacob and Israel.

There are 21 dreams recorded in the Bible, and 10 of these happen in the Book of Genesis.

Being bullied, Joseph did not turn to drugs or suicide. Joseph refused depression and despair. Joseph looked up. When you seek God, you will find God (Jeremiah 29:13).Joseph sought God.

If We Are With Jesus, Trials Will End In Blessing

God has a plan for your life. Your life should not be mediocre. You should not be a victim. You were not made to be bullied. You were not designed to be the servant of satan. God made you to walk with Him daily.

Illustrate As I left the Post Office the other day, a lady cried out to me, begging for gas money. I pulled out my wallet, and headed toward her. I handed her some cash, and like a volcano she immediately erupted. Her emotions were like 50 wild cats in a 1 pound bag. She professed to be a Christian, but immediately began to rail against God. God had abandoned her. There were no Churches open. Everywhere she looked, she found only condemnation and vitriol. As she said this, she paid little attention to the cash I put in her hand. This woman was thoroughly broken by life. I asked if I could pray for her, and she immediately bowed her head. As I prayed, I asked that God give her comfort … but she was too bitter. Her cup was filled to the brim with bitterness.

Bitterness! What a horrible fruit bitterness brings. Bitterness defiles you.

Hebrews 12:14-15 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any ROOT OF BITTERNESS springing up trouble you, and thereby many be DEFILED …

LOOKING DILIGENTLY. Look not at the trial, but at the Lord Who saved you. When Joseph was afflicted, he looked toward God. Joseph focused on the promise that God made him. He did not focus on the hurt, but on the Healer.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness… be put away from you

As humans, we often focus on what we do NOT have, rather than the good we have. Joseph’s brothers did not have the love of their father, so they took it out on Joseph.

Genesis 37:18-20 when {Joseph’s brothers saw him} afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this DREAMER cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

If Joseph’s brother Reuben had not objected, Joseph would have been killed right then. Instead of killing Joseph, they cast him into a pit, and then sold him to slave traders headed toward Egypt.

Genesis 37:36 … the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, and captain of the guard.

Just Like That, Joseph Went From The PAMPERING Of Jacob To The PIT, and from The PIT to POTIPHAR

Through all these life changes, Joseph clung to the PROMISE that God made him. Listen, dearly Beloved:

Are CIRCUMSTANCES your god, or is GOD your God?

Where your head is, is where your emotions will be. Joseph kept on loving the Lord. Joseph rejected bitterness and trusted God. His life radically changed, but his spirit remained the same. God saves, but only in the fullness of HIS time (Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10). Had Joseph let bitterness take him, we would have never read these words.

Genesis 39:2-4 the LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH, and he was a PROSPEROUS man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that THE LORD WAS WITH HIM, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 4 And JOSEPH FOUND GRACE in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

I have known many who have gone from a joyous life to cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or a stroke, who allowed bitterness to take them. Whatever prison you may have been cast into, look upward. Trust God! The God Who saved you, He saves you still. Avoid the gall of bitterness.

Illustrate In the early Church, Apostles Peter and John were going about, sharing the Word of God to all who would hear. One man, merely called “Simon”, was converted under the preaching of Philip. We read:

Acts 8:12-13 when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

Simon was a saved man – at least outwardly. But as Simon followed the Apostles and watched how they operated in the power of God the Holy Spirit, Simon “offered the Apostles money, saying, give me also this power” (Acts 8:18-19). Peter’s reply was very harsh. He said:

Acts 8:20-23 … Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that THOU ART IN THE GALL OF BITTERNESS, AND IN THE BOND OF INIQUITY.

The “gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity” has no place in the Christ follower. Cast it away. Let God be your portion.

Psalm 73:26 God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Joseph was willing to wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14; 37:34; Proverbs 20:22). God has promised that Joseph would one day be in the palace.

Genesis 39:7-9 it came to pass after these things, that {Potiphar’s} wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

The Devil Watches Us How often are we tempted to circumvent the plan of God? The devil watches us, just as he watched our Lord Jesus Christ, and waits for opportunities to try and tempt us from God’s best. Potiphar’s wife set her mind on taking Joseph as more than a servant. Yet Joseph kept the promise of God ever before him. It was not God’s best for Joseph to fall into sexual sin. Of course, Potiphar’s wife was not happy with this. She lied about Joseph to her husband, telling him that Joseph accosted her. Joseph was imprisoned (Genesis 39:20) on trumped up charges.

There is nothing more hurtful than to be wrongfully accused, and punished for something you never did.

Joseph has gone from Pampering, to Pit, to Potiphar, and now he is in Prison. Can you guess where God is?

Genesis 39:21-23 But THE LORD WAS WITH JOSEPH, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. 23 The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.

There is a song Reba McEntire sings, “You Never Gave Up On Me”. I like to sing these words to my God:

You never gave up on me
Oh, You never gave up on me
I’m here where I was always meant to be
I never gave up, ’cause Lord, You never gave up on me

Our God is so good! He never gives up on us. We must look upward to Him!

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

I am told that Joseph spent this last stint in prison for about 13 years. Joseph was in Prison because of a lie, but God was still in control. The prison would be used by God to put Joseph on the Throne. God is in control.

While in prison the King’s Butler and Baker were also imprisoned alongside of Joseph. Joseph got to meet them because God blessed Joseph. the warden made Joseph his number 2 man, an assistant in running the prison.

Genesis 40:5-6 … {the butler and the baker} dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. 6 And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and looked upon them, and, behold, they were sad.

A person who has enjoyed the grace of God has a tender heart. Joseph was not focused on the bars that imprisoned him, but on loving those around him. These two men were sad. Concerned, Joseph asks them why they are sad. “We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter of it” (Genesis 40:8). Joseph was not bothered with this. He said:

Genesis 40:8 … Do not interpretations belong to God? tell me them, I pray you.

When you have a daily relationship with God, the Lord communes with you. Joseph listened to both men’s dreams. When Joseph interpreted the two men’s dreams, he foretold that the Butler would be restored to his old position (Genesis 40:13), but the Baker would be hanged (Genesis 40:19). The Butler promised that he would speak to the King on Joseph’s behalf, but “the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him”. It was not time for the trial to end. Two more years passed, then Pharaoh had two dreams.

Genesis 41:8 … it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

When none could interpret the dreams, the Butler remembered Joseph. He told Pharaoh about Joseph, and the King sent for him. Pharaoh told Joseph:

Genesis 41:15 … I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.

Please listen to Joseph’s response. He says:

Genesis 41:16 … It is NOT IN ME: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.

The saved live to glorify God!

Pharaoh told Joseph about seven fat cows, and how the seven fat cows were eaten up by seven thin cows. He told of one seven eared corn stalk, and how another stalk with seven withered ears came up and ate the seven good ears (Genesis 41:18-24). Joseph told Pharaoh:

Genesis 41:28-36 … What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. 29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: 30 and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; 31 and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. 32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. 33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

Joseph Goes From Pampering, To Pit, To Potiphar, To Prison. Now He Moves Into The Palace.

The King will promote Joseph to the second highest seat in the land. Joseph would spearhead the collection of grain in preparation for the seven years of drought and starvation. Everything works out exactly as God said.

There is one more temptation left for Joseph to overcome. That which started Joseph’s journey was the hatred of his brothers. Joseph leads Egypt through the seven years of plenty. When the seven years of drought come, Jacob would send his sons to Egypt to seek food from a Joseph he thought was dead.

When Joseph’s brothers stood before him, they did not recognize Joseph. Like the Egyptians, he had an Egyptian name (Zaphnath-paaneah see Genesis 41:45). Joseph was shaved, like the Egyptians shaved themselves (Genesis 41:14), and dressed like the Egyptians around him. Here are his brothers before him, bowing down to him just as God foretold.

Would Joseph go from Palace to Punishing his brothers, making them suffer as he suffered?

Beloved, vengeance belongs to God. The Bible says:

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather GIVE PLACE UNTO WRATH: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

When his brothers stand before him, Joseph does not avenge himself against them.

Genesis 45:3-5 I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. 4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore BE NOT GRIEVED, NOR ANGRY WITH YOURSELVES, THAT YE SOLD ME HITHER: FOR GOD DID SEND ME BEFORE YOU TO PRESERVE LIFE.

Joseph refused to be petty, saying, “It was God Who sent me here before you, to preserve life”. Joseph saw the divine chain that brought him to where he needed to be for the glory of God. He was not angry at his brothers.

Genesis 45:8 … it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Joseph reunited with his family. When Jacob died, Joseph and his family went back to Canaan to bury him (Genesis 50:13), then returned to Egypt. Joseph carried no grudge against his brothers. Joseph told his brothers:

Genesis 50:19-21 … Fear not: for AM I IN THE PLACE OF GOD? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

Joseph took care of his family until, at 110 years old, he died. But Joseph told his brothers:

Genesis 50:24-26 … 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. 25 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. 26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Joseph wanted his brothers to keep his bones in Egypt, but to carry his bones to Canaan when the time was right. Joseph’s bones became a witness to the people of Israel, a witness long after his death. Israel would be afflicted in Egypt for many years following the death of Joseph. Throughout the afflictions, the Israelites remembered Joseph’s bones. When God raised up Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt many hundreds of years later, the Bible says:

Exodus 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and YE SHALL CARRY UP MY BONES AWAY HENCE WITH YOU.

As Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, it was Joseph’s bones that went with them. His bones reminded Israel to trust the God Who saved them. Just as Joseph trusted the Lord Jesus even in the worst of times, God wants His people to trust and believe on Him.

After conquering the land, Joshua died and was buried at the age of 110 years old (Joshua 24:29) – the same age that Joseph was when he died. I do not believe this was a coincidence. Both Joseph and Joshua trusted God, no matter what the circumstances. They followed the Lord. Right after Joshua was buried, we read:

Joshua 24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

How about YOUR bones? When you leave this life, what legacy will you leave behind for your posterity? Trust in the Lord. Follow Him with all your heart. Live a life of faith, so that when you leave this earth, your example will lead others to the Lord. If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, today is the day to give yourselves to Him. Commit to following Him daily, no matter where the streams of life may take you. For whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13)

May God bless you hearts with His Word. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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