When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh's court, "If I have found favor in your eyes, please tell Pharaoh that
Whole chapter a reproof of the restless ambitions of men. Of these long lives the only record is a name, and the fact, "he died." Moral of the whole, "Dust thou art" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50
). Yet a link between life here and life above. Enoch translated (Hebrews 11:5
). The living man passed into the presence of God. How, we need not care to know. But we know why. He "walked with God." Who would not covet this? Yet it may be ours. What then was that life? Of its outward form we know nothing. But same expression (Genesis 6:9
) tells us that Noah's was such. Also Abraham's, "the friend of God" (Genesis 17:1
); and St. Paul's (Philippians 1:21
); and St. John (1 John 1:3
) claims "fellowship with the Father" not for himself only (cf. John 14:23
I. ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A WALK WITH GOD. Not a life of austerity or of contemplation, removed from interests or cares of world. Noah's was not; nor Abraham's. Nor a life without fault. Elijah was "of like passions as we are;" and David; and St. John declares, 1 John 1:8-10.
1. It is a life of faith, i.e. a life in which the word of God is a real power. Mark in Hebrews 11. how faith worked in different circumstances. To walk with God is to trust him as a child trusts; from belief of his fatherhood, and that he is true. With texts before us such as John 3:16; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:2, why are any not rejoicing? Or with such as John 4:10; Luke 11:13, why are any not asking and receiving to the full? God puts no hindrance (Revelation 3:20). But
(1) too often men do not care. To walk with God is of less importance than to be admired of men.
(2) If they do care, they often will not take God's way. The simple message (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 John 5:11) seems too simple. They look for feelings, instead of setting God's message before them and grasping it.
2. To walk with God implies desire and effort for the good of men. In an ungodly world Enoch proclaimed the coming judgment (Jude 1:14; cf. Acts 24:25). Spiritual selfishness often a snare to those who have escaped the snare of the world. It is not the mind of Christ. It springs from weakness of faith. Knowing the gift so dearly purchased, so freely offered to all, our calling is to persuade men. Not necessarily as teachers (James 1:19), but by intercession and by loving influence.
III. ENOCH WAS TRANSLATED. But apostles and saints died. Yet think not that their walk with God was less blessed. Hear our Lord's words (John 11:26), and St. Paul (2 Timothy 1:10). Hear the apostle's desire (Philippians 1:23). Enoch walked with God on earth, and the communion was carried on above. Is not this our Savior's promise? (John 14:21-23; John 17:24). Death is not the putting off that which is corruptible; it is separation from the Lord. Assured that we are his forever, we may say, "O death, where is thy sting?" - M.
So Joseph died. I.
JOSEPH'S DEATH WAS THAT OF EMINENTLY GOOD MAN. Perhaps the best man of the Old Testament. He was not surprised by death, nor dismayed at its coming. He had lived to meet it — lived for the life beyond death — not for present indulgence, nor in heedless disregard of his highest good — but with wise and faithful reference to the will of God and the monitions of the Holy Spirit.
II. JOSEPH'S DEATH WAS THE DEATH OF A GREAT PROPHET.
Joseph died! Then after all, he was but mortal, like ourselves I It is important to remember this, lest we should let any of the great lessons slip away under the delusion that Joseph was more than man. We have seen fidelity so constant, heroism so enduring, magnanimity so — I had almost said — divine, that we are apt to think there must have been something more than human about this man. No. He was mortal, like ourselves. His days were consumed as are our days; little by little his life ebbed out; and he was found, as we shall be found, dead. So, then, if he was but mortal, why can't we be as great in our degree? If he was only a man, why can't we emulate his virtue, so far as our circumstances will enable us to do so? We can't all be equally heroic and sublime. We can all be, by the grace of God, equally holy, patient, and trustful in our labour. Joseph died! Thus the best, wisest, and most useful men are withdrawn from their ministry! This is always a mystery in life: That the good man should be taken away in the very prime of his usefulness; that the eloquent tongue should be smitten with death; that a kind father should be withdrawn from his family circle; and that wretches who never have a noble thought, who do not know what it is to have a brave heavenly impulse, should seem to have a tenacity of life that is unconquerable; that drunken men and hard-hearted individuals should live on and on — while the good, and the true, and the wise, and the beautiful, and the tender, are snapped off in the midst of their days and translated to higher climes. The old proverb says, "Whom the gods love die young." Sirs! There is another side to this life, otherwise these things would be inexplicable — would be chief of the mysteries of God's ways. We must wait, therefore, until we see the circle completed before we sit in judgment upon God. Joseph died! Then the world can get on without its greatest and best men. This is very humiliating to some persons. Here is, for example, a man who has never been absent from his business for twenty years. You ask him to take a day's holiday, go to a church opening or to a religious festival. He says, "My dear sir! Why, the very idea! The place would go to rack and ruin if I was away four-and-twenty hours." It comes to pass that God sends a most grievous disease upon the man — imprisons him in the darkened chamber for six months. When he gets up, at the end of six months, he finds the business has gone on pretty much as well as if he had been wearing out his body and soul for it all the time. Very humiliating to go and find things getting on without us! Who are we? The preacher may die, but the truth will be preached still. The minister perishes — the ministry is immortal. This ought to teach us, therefore, that we are not so important, after all; that our business is to work all the little hour that we have; and to remember that God can do quite as well without us as with us, and that He puts an honour upon us in asking us to touch the very lowest work in any province of the infinite empire of His truth and light.
PeopleAbel, Canaanites, Egyptians, Ephron, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Machir, Mamre, Manasseh, Mizraim, Pharaoh
PlacesCanaan, Egypt, Goshen, Jordan River, Machpelah, Mamre, Rameses
TopicsCourt, Ears, Favor, Favour, Grace, Household, Joseph, Love, Mourning, Pass, Passed, Past, Pharaoh, Pharaoh's, Please, Saying, Servants, Sight, Spake, Speak, Speaketh, Spoke, Weeping
Outline1. The mourning for Jacob.
4. Joseph gets leave of Pharaoh to go to bury him.
7. The funeral.
15. Joseph comforts his brothers, who crave his pardon.
22. His age.
23. He sees the third generation of his sons.
24. He prophesies unto his brothers of their return.
25. He takes an oath of them concerning his bones.
26. He dies, and is put into a coffin.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 50:3-4
4971 seasons, of life
5861 favour, human
'Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.'--GENESIS l. 25. This is the one act of Joseph's life which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews selects as the sign that he too lived by faith. 'By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.' It was at once a proof of how entirely he believed God's promise, and of how earnestly he longed …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A Coffin in Egypt
'They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.' --GENESIS l. 26. So closes the book of Genesis. All its recorded dealings of God with Israel, and all the promises and the glories of the patriarchal line, end with 'a coffin in Egypt'. Such an ending is the more striking, when we remember that a space of three hundred years intervenes between the last events in Genesis and the first in Exodus, or almost as long a time as parts the Old Testament from the New. And, during all that period, Israel …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
A Calm Evening, Promising a Bright Morning
'And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly
DO not mistake me, I do not say that of their own nature the worst things are good, for they are a fruit of the curse; but though they are naturally evil, yet the wise overruling hand of God disposing and sanctifying them, they are morally good. As the elements, though of contrary qualities, yet God has so tempered them, that they all work in a harmonious manner for the good of the universe. Or as in a watch, the wheels seem to move contrary one to another, but all carry on the motions of the watch: …
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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