Monday Memo 1159: Die in Faith

We've looked at Joseph's sons the last two weeks, but now let's backtrack and take a look at Joseph in our series "Never Too Young for Purpose."

It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left (Hebrews 11:22, NLT).

Joseph had heard the stories from Jacob, his father, that God was going to give the people the land according to the promise He made to Abraham. Joseph put his faith in that promise and was confident it would take place, even though Joseph himself had been in Egypt for 80 years when he was about to die. His people's population in Egypt by then was growing to the extent that it would seem almost impossible that they would be able to return one day to where they had buried Jacob, but Joseph believed it was going to happen.

What's more, Joseph left one command in his last will and testament and that was for the people to take his bones with them when they went back. That indicated Joseph didn't believe the return was going to happen any time soon, but it was going to happen and he wanted to be a part of it. It would happen almost four centuries after his death.

This makes me think of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, quoting Psalm 116:10: "It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak." What did Joseph do in his old age? How could he fulfill his purpose to rule over his family as God had promised? He directed their faith focus to the promise of God that they would return to their home by speaking words of faith.

Then we read the report in Exodus that took place hundreds of years after Joseph's death: "Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, 'God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place'" (Exodus 13:19). Joseph made a decision on his deathbed: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance" (Hebrews 11:13).

He decided to die in faith, even though he did not receive what was promised. And I made the decision years ago I would rather die in faith than live in presumption or fear. I write now in faith my books will outlive me. I am building a publishing company that I hope will out-survive me. I am teaching about what I believe the Church should look like as we move on in the 21st century. What about you?

As you grow older, what is your focus? The present or the future? The current mess or the future promise? Pessimism or optimism? Are you just living your life waiting to die or are you living to live, fueled by vibrant and active faith? Joseph spoke what he believed God would do. He was an example of the truth that no one is too old for purpose or faith living. Now it's up to you to come to the same conclusion and then live your life according to that truth, speaking words of faith until the day you can't speak any longer. Have a blessed week!



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