Over the course of several lessons, we will learn what we can from the bones of Joseph. That's right--Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob's twelve. He lived approximately 4000 years ago, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from him.
Before we consider a specific lesson, let's read some passages from the Bible that talk about Joseph and his bones. Genesis 50:25 reads - "Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.'" Exodus 13:19 records - "And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.'" We learn from Joshua 24:32 - "The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph." Hebrews 11:22 states - "By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones." Indeed, there are many verses that mention the bones of Joseph. What can we learn today from the bones of this great man?
1. THE LESSON OF MORTALITY.
Joseph was a great man, but he went the way of all the earth. In other words, he died. His body decayed and his bones remained. Hebrews 9:27 records - "And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." A person may live to a ripe old age, but eventually he or she will die. And, even if one lives to be 110 years old (like Joseph did), life passes by so very quickly. As James said - "Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). Life is like a mist--it's here one minute and gone the next! Job put it this way - "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope" (Job 7:6).
There are definitely lessons to be learned from Joseph's death. Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2 - "Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart." It is good to go to funerals; not because someone has died but because it causes the living to think about their own impending death! We need to learn "to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psa. 90:12).
Friends, you and I are going to die. Our physical bodies are mortal. Each day we live on this planet is one less day we have left. "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7). Since it is a fact that we are going to die, then we need to prepare for death. We need to be right with God.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 - "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Jesus was crucified; He died. But, not even death could stop Him from accomplishing His purpose. After three days, He was "risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep" (I Cor. 15:20). Jesus was brought back to life never to die again! He was triumphant over death, and that is how it shall be for the faithful! After we die we will one day be resurrected, never more to suffer pain or sickness or death (if we are found faithful, that is). We will rejoice eternally with our God in heaven!