Go Forward! – Fast 2016 – Day 4
Category : Go Forward
Day 4 – Dragging Old Bones – Exodus 13:19
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”
What follows will, on the surface, seem to go against the theme for this year’s season of prayer and fasting, “Go Forward!” listen closely though and allow a quick explanation.
The reason the Israelites were in Egypt in the first place goes back many generations. Pick up the story with Joseph. Perhaps a favored son but there was the “coat of many colors” incident ending with Joseph being sold into slavery and winding up as a servant in the palace in Egypt. By the time Joseph was about 30 God has directed his pathway so that he had risen to become a very powerful man in the Pharaoh’s court. At the same time the Israelites were experiencing a terrible famine which drove them to seek help within the borders of Egypt. Joseph, because of his position, was able to help his brothers (the ones who had sold him into slavery) and in so doing he was able to provide for the entire nation of Israel.
Before he died, Joseph made his brothers promise that, when God delivered Israel from Egypt, their descendants would take his coffin with them to the Promised Land. Joseph knew that God would keep His promise and rescue the Children of Israel. Joseph also knew that he belonged in the land of Canaan with his people. What did this coffin mean to the generations of Jews who lived during the years of terrible bondage in Egypt? Certainly the Jews could look at Joseph’s coffin and be encouraged. After all, the Lord cared for Joseph during his trials, and finally delivered him, and He would care for the nation of Israel and eventually set them free. When they arrived in their land, the Jews kept their promise and buried Joseph with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Is it idolatrous to have visible reminders of God’s faithfulness? Not necessarily, for you find several significant monuments in the Book of Joshua. When Israel crossed the Jordan River, they put up a monument of stones on the farther shore to commemorate what God had done. They also put stones on Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim to remind them of God’s law. A heap of stones bore witness of Achan’s treachery, and a “witness stone” was a reminder of Israel’s rededication after the conquest of the land. Samuel set up a stone to commemorate Israel’s victory over the Philistines and called it “Ebenezer, the stone of help.”
As long as we keep obeying the Lord, such reminders can encourage our faith. The important thing is that they point to the Lord and not to a dead past, and that we continue to walk by faith and obey the Lord today. Be encouraged to keep careful records of what God does for you and speaks to you during this fast. It will serve as a reminder of His faithfulness and an encouragement which will surely build your faith.