And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers. (Gen 48:21 KJV)
These heroes all died still clinging to their faith, not even receiving all that had been promised them. But they saw beyond the horizon the fulfillment of their promises and gladly embraced it from afar. They all lived their lives on earth as those who belonged to another realm. (Heb 11:13 TPT)
Jacob was near the end of his life. He had held on strongly to the faith handed down to him from his father Isaac, and his grandfather Abraham, that God was going to give him the promised land of Caanan for their inheritance. His grand-father Abraham had lived without seeing it come to pass. His father Isaac had lived without seeing it come to pass. Now, he too was getting set to die, and not only was he not even in Canaan, but he was still in a strange land where he fled to find food for survival. What was the certainty that what God promised his fathers will ever come to pass? Where are the signs that God will do as He had said?
This is one thing about the faith of our fathers; they believed God even till death. They trusted Him to keep His word even if they never lived to see it come to pass in their lifetime. So, as Jacob laid a-dying, he reiterated the promise to Joseph, his son, that God was going to bring his seed into the promised land. “Behold I die,” he said to them, “but God shall be with you, and bring you again into the land of your fathers.” What a faith, what an assurance. He was not shaking, he was not doubting, he was not wondering when and how, all he knew was that God will keep his word.
And he passed that confidence down to his son Joseph. Joseph held on strongly to the faith of his fathers that nothing that Egypt offered him could make him settle in that city. Despite all the positions of wealth, privilege, and providence that he enjoyed, he still prophesied concerning the exodus of Israel from Egypt and even gave instructions concerning his bones. Despite the privileges these fathers enjoyed in Egypt, they refused to be buried there. Their eyes were on the city with foundations, whose builder and maker was God.
AND SO? Let’s bring it home. Do you remember the promise of Jesus to his disciples?
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3 KJV)
He said he is going to prepare a place for us. How many of us still believe that? Yes, generations have passed and the promise to come back for us is not yet fulfilled, but how many of us are still conscious of this promise, building our lives and labours around it? Though Joseph helped develop Egypt, and Jacob enjoyed the privileges of Egypt, but they both kept their eyes on the promised land. Nothing that Egypt offered them could make them settle to be buried there. Their faith was in God’s promises, which though seemingly delayed, will surely come to pass. That is why I believe that a Christian can be heaven conscious and still profit maximally on earth- Jacob and Joseph taught us that such a lifestyle was possible.
Finally, what about the promises that God gave us individually? Promises for our lives, our future, our hopes, and our marriages. How many of us are standing on His promises? How many of us have refused to let the challenges of this world shift us from His blessed promises? God will keep His word – that is for sure; but the question is “when the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?”