WEEK 6, DAY 4 OF CHOOSING GOD INSTEAD OF THE WORLD, A LOVE GOD GREATLY STUDY
“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. 3 And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. John 14:1-3NLT
Today’s Focus Verse: John 14:1-3
The words found in John chapter 14:1-3 are words of reassurance spoken by Christ to His disciples. “In the last few moments, Jesus has indicated one of the disciples is a deceiver (John 13:21) and predicted Peter will deny knowing Him at all (John 13:38; Luke 22:34). This comes in the context of frequent references to His impending death (John 12:7, 23–24).”1 His words may sound like a pep talk to be more upbeat but in reality the term for “troubled” or “distressed” is more of “a call for courage.” Like Jacob and Joseph, who trusted in God’s promise yet to come we must trust Jesus when He says He will come again to take us to be with Him.
THE GENESIS SAGA:
We have traveled a long way with Jacob, watching him from the time he was in his mother’s womb up to his dying breath in Egypt. We will now travel back with him to Canaan, where he will be buried with his father and his father before him, an important expression of his faith in the promise that God would one day make him into a great nation. We are given a front row seat to the days following his death and to the Egyptian’s way of mourning, including the embalming of his body which was typically a custom reserved for those of status, such as Joseph. Although in this case the embalming would have helped keep Jacob’s body from decaying on their long trip back to Canaan.
Following the days of mourning and burial the brothers began to think about the situation and played the ‘what if’ game – “What if Joseph bears a grudge and wants to repay us in full for all the harm we did to him?” Joseph once again assures them that he is content that what they meant for evil God meant for good and by it had preserved the life of many people. He tells them not to be afraid and consoles them — now this is love.
Joseph’s death is recorded in this same chapter. When he was 110 years old. Before he died, like his father, he trusted in the promise yet to come and was concerned about the final resting place of his bones and he made the “sons of Israel” promise to carry his bones up from Egypt to the land God would one day lead them to in fulfillment of His promise. (Note: Our reading from Exodus 13:19 is the fulfillment of his bones being taken up from there.)
Other Notable Observations:
- Joseph had to request permission from Pharaoh and Pharaoh gladly allowed it
- Joseph was not looking to ‘escape’ his life in Egypt
APPLICATION: HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?
There are many different customs and various traditions when it comes to burials and funerals today. Embalming and cremation are both common choices now. Viewings and services are less and less a two-day event and are even veering toward celebrations of life rather than loud mourning and wailing. Regardless of how different these practices are from Jacob’s time the thing that hit me most in reading today’s passages is we do not have to worry about where our bones will be. Christ has given us His full assurance that He will come again and take us to be with Him.
Jesus encourages the people not to let death be a cause for fear or stress, but rather a call for courage. It’s a courage that comes from trusting in God, the Father and the Son – knowing God’s provision through the Son and the Son’s provision through His death and resurrection.
Prayer: Response to God’s Word.
Father God, thank You that we do not have to worry about where our bones are buried, or for that matter where the bones of Jesus are buried. Thank You for the work of Jesus on our behalf – who made a way for us to take Him with us everywhere we go and has gone before us to prepare a place where we will be forever with You – to which I say Hallelujah and Amen!
YOUR TURN:PERSONAL REFLECTION:
- Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? If so, do you believe He is preparing a place for you?
- How can you live in light of this marvelous promise?