Daily D – Genesis 50:25
Genesis 50:25 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.” (NLT)
“When” is a faith word. “If” is a weasel word. “When” is a word of secure trust and hopeful expectation. “If” is only as strong as its ultimate object and as weak as the one who speaks it with some measure of hope, but no measure of certainty. Joseph said, “when.”
One New Year’s Eve so many years ago, the telephone rang at the church where we were gathering for a party to ring in the New Year. The ring that night was unwelcome, unwanted, and untimely. Our music minister was calling to tell us he would not make it to the party. His son had been killed in a car wreck.
Altogether too soon, decisions had to be made about where to bury this young man. As is typical for many, this music minister had never lived in any one place long enough to sink deep roots. His family home had never been his son’s home. His son had never lived anywhere for more than a few years.
The son was finally buried in the place where he began to participate in activities outside of his family circle like Little League Baseball. There in that small town in the middle of Louisiana lie the earthly remains of a son who had no permanent home.
Where is home for you? Are you also a modern nomad so far removed from where you began that wherever you are laid to rest is fine because you don’t plan to be there anyway?
Joseph knew where he came from. He knew where he lived and served was not his ultimate home. He knew a day was coming when God would step into time, deliver his people, and return them to their ancestral home. As the old song says, Joseph wanted to be in that number when the saints went marching in.
Joseph knew something about God’s timing. He was a dreamer as a boy. His dreams made others uncomfortable, including his father. His dreams nearly got him killed. They did get him enslaved, imprisoned, and forgotten. Slavery cannot kill a God dream. Prison cannot bar a God dream. Failure to remember cannot stifle a God dream.
God, in his timing and in his way, turned dreams into reality. Joseph, about to sleep the sleep of death, dreamed a new dream. He was going home. Home where his ancestors lay. Home where the ladder reaching to heaven stood. Home where he was ripped away from all he knew and loved. Home where his family would flourish for generations, centuries, and ages to come.
Joseph knew it was all a matter of when, not if.
There is so much more to history and what lies beyond. It, too, is a matter of when, not if. Will you be in that number when the saints go marching in?
I will put my trust in God who alone knows when, and who alone turns dreams into reality.
Our Father, I am on your timetable, your when. Empower me to live the life of your dreams for me, and awaken me in your timing on that day where there is no more night. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.