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October 17 – Joseph’s bones

“By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” – Hebrews 11:22 

Scripture Reading: Genesis 50:22-26

Does it matter what happens to your body when you die? Yes, it does. To Joseph, it was his dying wish. Certainly in the history of the church there have been many saints who have died the death of martyrs and their bones were burned or ground to dust or ash and then scattered in an attempt to add further humiliation to the believer.

For Joseph, why would it have been important to have his bones carried out of Egypt when the people left? After all, that would be a long trip to carry someone’s bones. We know that in Genesis 17, God had told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years. Then, they would inherit the land promised to him. So, why is this verse in Hebrews 11? Because Joseph believed the promise of God. Joseph trusted that God would do exactly what He said He would do, namely, bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into the land of promise.

Bones might not seem like a big deal, but when we think of them in light of the promise of God, the resurrection comes to mind. The weak and fragile corrupted bones of today, upon the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be raised incorruptible. We are not awaiting a spiritual resurrection (that happens when we believe); we are awaiting a physical resurrection where our bodies and souls will be reunited and transformed like Christ’s glorified body. That promise keeps the Christian on his knees in prayer.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the promise of the great “land of promise” with the Lord. Ask God for the spirit that you may stand steadfast unto the day of Christ’s appearing.

Rev. Steve Swets was born and raised in NW Indiana. He graduated from Mid America Reformed Seminary in 2007, and he is currently the minister at Redeemer United Reformed Church in St. John, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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