By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. Hebrews 11:22 (NKJV)
If you're familiar with the story of Joseph's life, you know that it's characterized by faith-filled exploits. As a teenager, God revealed that Joseph would one day be a ruler of his household. What followed was a gang of trials and setbacks that would have tested anyone's faith and shut us down. First, his own brothers sold him into slavery. Then he was falsely accused and thrown into prison, where he waited and waited and waited for God's promise to come to happen. It eventually did, but not before Joseph's faith was forged in the fires of adversity. (He had to go through some things!)
But here's what's interesting: The writer of Hebrews doesn't allude to any of these chapters in Joseph's life when recounting his faith. Instead, it was something that happened at the very tail end of Joseph's life that gets highlighted. As he was dying, Joseph gave specific instructions that when the Israelites left Egypt to enter into the land God had promised them, they were to take his bones and bury them there (Genesis 50:24-25.
Why make mention of that? Why not point to the spring, summer, or even autumn of Joseph's faith-filled life instead of the last few days of winter?
Perhaps it's the Lord's way of reminding us that faith is something that is to be actively exercised and expressed up to the very end of this life. Faith isn't supposed to fade. It's something that grows stronger and stronger as the years pass by, and Joseph is the embodiment of this.
In a world where so many things have a shelf life and expiration date, faith runs counter cultural. It doesn't fade or lose its value with the passing of time. Rather, faith is our constant companion and accompanies us to the very last breath of our sojourn here on earth.
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