After Pharaoh, Joseph was the most powerful man in Egypt; he protected and cared for the nation of Israel. At the age of 110 Joseph announced, “I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Gen. 50:24) But, it would not be an easy transition. After Joseph had died, “a new king who knew nothing of Joseph came to power in Egypt”. (Ex. 1:8) Israel’s earthly protector was gone and they were terribly persecuted by the new Pharaoh.
In life it can seem that the good days will go on and on … we can take things for granted…. and then all of a sudden things change. Those who protected our way of life are gone. Men and women of character and strength are no longer with us. We see it in our government and our culture and even the church…generations who protected our way of life are no longer around. Now what?
As we continue to read thru the book of Exodus, we will ultimately see that the words of Joseph proved true…” God will visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land he promised…” (Gen. 50:24) Yet, this will be “no walk in the park.” We are familiar with the desperate life that Israel would endure as slaves in Egypt and then the 40 years in the dessert, the battles to actually inherit the land promised.
They didn’t hire a lawyer, go to court and have the land handed to them. It was a fierce battle to actually inherit the land and then keep it.
Grace makes things possible,not easy. Without the grace of God , the promises of God will not happen. But even with the grace of God, things can be very difficult. Pick out any great saint of the Bible, who did wondrous things, and you will see it wasn’t easy. Look at Joseph and Mary, St. Peter and Paul, the Old Testament heroes…Abraham, Joseph, Moses… and of course the Lord Jesus himself. The Joyful Mysteries were followed by the Sorrowful Mysteries, before the Glorious Mysteries arrived.
Personally, I’d rather go directly from the “Joyful to the Glorious”. I’d just as soon skip the trials and tribulations. Yet, even in the “Sorrowful Times”, the Lord is present, doing wonderful things… building character and holiness in us.
So, Joseph endured great sorrows and responded with wonderful holiness and left the nation of Israel in good shape. But it would take more sorrow and other great heroes, like Moses and Joshua, to get them to their next place of rest. Each generation must take its place and do its duty. Each generation must endure hardships and grow in holiness and hopefully leave the following generation a Godly inheritance. That’s our call now. Let’s serve the Lord, endure our trials with peace and know that each act of love we exhibit (big or small) will help the next generation to flourish. May the saints who have gone before us pray for us, encourage us, and cheer us on. May we be faithful to the call that the Lord has given to each of us. The Lord is with us and will help us …. and that is very good news.