The Covenant – Focused Parent & Teacher
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.Hebrews 11:22
Joseph, as second in command after Pharaoh, could have chosen to be buried in a royal tomb in Egypt. When we consider the pyramids of that age, the wealth buried with nobility at that time and the prominent place that Joseph’s tomb would have received for generations, we will better understand that by faith he gave instructions regarding where to bury his body. He asked his children to swear that they would bury him, not in Egypt, but in the land of Canaan because he focused on God’s covenant promise. He saw that God would bless the children of Israel, including his children’s children, and that God would bring them out of Egypt and into Canaan, the land that God had promised to his fathers (Gen. 50:24-26).
For hundreds of years, Joseph’s embalmed body laid in a coffin in Egypt (Gen. 50:26). All these years Joseph’s body testified of his faith in God, in that which God would do! During all the years of Israel’s intense slavery in Egypt, the bones of Joseph spoke! Joseph’s unburied coffin reminded the Israelites that the trials in Egypt were just temporary. A time was approaching when God would deliver them, when He would bring them out of Egypt and settle them in the land of Canaan.
Why would God deliver Israel? How could they be sure of this? Because of the Lord’s covenant mercy and faithfulness.
God had said to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
Yes, there were times of oppression when deliverance from Egypt looked impossible, when escape and freedom from Pharaoh and his mighty army seemed like a dream that could never become reality, but it did.
We read in Exodus 12:41, “And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”
And we also read, “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him.”
The faith of Joseph was not put to shame. Every word of God’s promise was fulfilled not even a hoof of an animal was left behind.
Dear parent, was your son or daughter baptized? Are there not rich promises of God upon which you have pleaded? “But,” you say, “you do not know my son. Sin and the love of the world have such a powerful grip on him!” Yes, but I encourage you. Look to the children of Israel in Egypt. What a relentless grip Pharaoh had on Israel and for how long! But God is almighty and true to His Word and promise. Like Israel of old, while your son cannot deliver himself and you cannot free him either, God can!
“But my grandchildren are growing up in a world where sin is so available and accepted. Sin is no more viewed as sin. What will the future hold? What can I expect?” True, you cannot expect much from them or the society in which they live. But, is God not just as true to His Word today as in Moses’ day? Look to Him. Listen to His Word. Consider His covenant faithfulness.
“But my high school students are not interested in learning about God. They are more interested in video games than the Bible. Their friends mean more to them than God does. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are not viewed as an evil thing, but they see these things as cool and exciting.” Dear teachers, I encourage you not to fixate upon the will of your students but to look more to the will of their covenant-making and keeping God. “I will be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” Whose will is stronger, your students’ or God’s?
Despite all the opposition and impossibilities, the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian slavery and walked freely out of Egypt. And they took the bones of Joseph with them. They carried Joseph’s embalmed body with them during their forty years in the wilderness and their wars in Canaan.
After all of this, we read “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.”
The faith of Joseph was not put to shame because Joseph’s God was a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. And remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).
Dear parents and teachers, focus on God’s Word and covenant. Look to His covenant faithfulness and mercy. Pray for your students, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even for your future seed that is not yet born. Plead upon God’s covenant promises. Fix your expectation on who God is, and on what He has said, and on that which He has done and promised to do. Tie your hope and expectation by the rope of faith to the almighty, unchanging, and ever faithful God of the covenant. There is hope for today and expectation for the future.
Are you a covenant-focused parent, a promise-rooted teacher?