"Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.' So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." - Genesis 50:25-26 ESV
"Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, 'God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.'... And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people." - Exodus 13:19, 21-22 ESV
"Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the LORD did for Israel. As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph." - Joshua 24:31-32 ESV
Joseph's bones went with them. They didn't worship those bones but they were always somewhere in the caravan. The bones crossed the red sea. The bones followed the cloud. The bones passed over chilly Jordan and went to war with Joshua. As far as we know those bone are still buried in Israel right now.
I was pondering this morning and asking the question, What are my bones? What do I carry through life?
It is the Bible. We don't worship the Bible but it goes with us. We don't abandon those bones. They represent a heritage.
God used Joseph to save the known world from a great famine and to saved his family from starvation. That family became a nation. Abraham is the father of our faith and Joseph's life became the framework for the nation of Israel.
"Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, 'Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.' ' " - Hebrews 10:5-7 ESV
God came in the form of a man. He is our Savior. We worship the God who sent us a Savior. The Bible provides the framework of our faith. The Church will carry the Bible all the way into the promise land.
The Bible is what will reveal God's grace. It will return me to objectivity. It will talk of how God Is... not how I want Him to be or how other people say that He Is.
Just as a young Israelite could stand looking at the bones of Joseph and realize that this one man represents the framework of his nation we can peer into the scriptures and put aside the politics of the day and remember what the Church really is. It is a vehicle to reveal the Savior. It is an object of His love and care. It is born from one book.
When I die I want to die with my Bible in my hands. The scriptures are what I will always carry with me into every season and across every river and foreign landscape. It is my heritage.