A DEATH BED TESTIMONY

Scripture Reading: Genesis 47:27-31

“And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, ‘If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindy and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.’ He said, ‘I will do as you say.'” (Genesis 47:29,30)

We now come to the end of Jacob’s life. Actually there are three death bed scenes at the end of his life. First, Jacob met with Joseph, his favorite son, and made him promise to bury his body in the land of Canaan (47:29-31). Second, Jacob met with Joseph and his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and blessed them (48:1-22). Third, Jacob called all his sons and gave a prophecy about the future of the tribes that were to be descended from them (49:1-17). This is a very moving section in Genesis. The old man Jacob was giving his last words to his sons and grandsons.

When you get to the end of your life, what final words do you want to leave with those you love? Jacob wanted to leave a strong testimony with his family of the faithfulness of God. Each of us should consider what kind of message we want to leave with our loved ones before we die.

When Jacob met with Joseph, his chief concern was that he not be buried in Egypt but that his remains be returned to Canaan for burial. This was not some sentimental desire to be buried with his family. His desire to be buried in Canaan concerned God’s promises to him. God had made some great promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He promised to bless them and to make them a great nation. God promised to send the Messiah through their descendants. God also promised to give them a land for their possession. Jacob wanted his body to be buried in the land where God would one day bring the Jewish people and where the Messiah would be born and perform His work.. Jacob had faith in the promises of God because God had always been faithful to him.

After Joseph promised Jacob that he would not bury him in Egypt, Jacob worshiped God — “Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed” (v. 31). What greater legacy could we leave with our children than to affirm God’s faithfulness to us and His promise to be faithful to our children?

Lord, grant me grace to leave my children and grandchildren a testimony of Your faithfulness to me. Let me leave a spiritual legacy of Your grace, mercy and love that You have lavishly poured out on me. May my children and grandchildren walk with You as You fulfill Your promises to be their God.

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