ESOCS Devotional 3 November 2023 – Unshakeable Faith
MEMORY VERSE: “And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite.” Genesis 49:29
TEXT:GENESIS 49:29-END & 50:1 -14 (KJV)
And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
30 In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.
33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.
2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.
3 And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.
4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
5 My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.
6 And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.
7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
8 And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.
11 And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
12 And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:
13 For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
14 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.
In ancient Israel, great importance is placed on location of burial sites in their homeland. It was a strange practice for the ancient fathers to be buried in a strange land. So, before Jacob’s death, he instructed that his body must be taken to Canaan and buried in same graveyard where his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac were buried. A graveyard which Abraham had earlier purchased when Sarah died. As at the point Abraham purchased the piece of land, he doesn’t even own one portion of the Promised Land. Yet, he insisted on burying Sarah in Canaan which at that time would be considered a strange land. This is because he was not looking at his present situation but held firm onto the promise which God had earlier made to him where He said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land.”
It was this same faith that Jacob demonstrated when he insisted that his body must be taken back to Canaan. Although they didn’t yet possess the land of Canaan, Jacob demonstrated an unshakable faith in the promise of God. The instruction to take his body back to Canaan therefore reveals his faith that God’s covenant promises to give them the land will surely come to pass. Even though he didn’t see the manifestation of the promise he died believing God’s word; He died in faith.
The scriptures testify that what happened to the patriarchs and men of old were an ensample unto us and were written down for our admonition. Their lives and experiences with God were a pointer to us. In them God was illustrating the eternal plan he has for us which is now being revealed in Christ. The land promised unto them is an illustration of the city which we now look onto. Canaan was used as an illustration to point to the heavenly city which the Lord shall reveal to us. God’s promises are sure and we must hold dear to them by faith.
Just as the ancient fathers died in faith. We can today set our eyes on that great and glorious city which the Lord has promised us, which we have in Christ and which shall be fully made manifest in God’s own time. When this faith is in us, we shall then know that whether in living or in dying we do not belong to this strange land.
FURTHER READINGS: Genesis 12:1-7; 23; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 11:13
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ESOCS Devotional 3 November 2023