Fast forward some 200 years to the night of the exodus. The grip of Pharaoh was finally broken by the death angel, and the Children of Israel were in a hurry to get out of Egypt. That’s when Moses gave the order – Go get Joseph’s bones! We can’t leave without them! So they dug up the coffin, and for the next forty years someone had the unique job of hauling Joseph’s bones all over the Sinai wilderness.
In the meantime, Moses died and Joshua became the new leader. Under Joshua the Children of Israel finally moved into the Promised Land and launched the conquest of Canaan. Everywhere they went, the bones of Joseph went with them. Finally, in the next to the last verse in the book of Joshua we read that they buried Joseph’s bones in the family cemetery in Shechem. He made it at last!
I think it’s interesting that in the roll call of the heroes of faith that appears in Hebrews 11, the writer said nothing about Joseph resisting Potiphar’s wife, or his faithfulness during those years in prison, or his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, or even his role in saving Egypt from starvation.
So what did the writer say about Joseph? Here it is, “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). That’s it. Joseph told his people, Someday you are going to leave this place, and when you do, take me with you!
Although he lived his entire adult life in Egypt, although he acquired fame and fortune in Egypt, although he married and raised a family in Egypt, Joseph never considered it his home. He knew he was a stranger and a pilgrim in Egypt (Hebrews 11:13). And he died in faith without seeing the promise, but he was convinced in his heart it would be fulfilled. And it was!
Do you believe in a place called heaven? Do you desire a better country? Do you understand that this world is not your home? We’re just passing through on our way to the place Jesus is preparing for us. So remember Lot’s wife and don’t get too attached to this old world because it’s only temporary. Heaven is our forever home.