Reading 1 - Gen 50:26
"So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt" (Gen 50:26).
SO JOSEPH DIED...: "Hidden away from human knowledge, in far-off Shechem, still rest the remains of a great man of God. He lived, as few others have ever lived, a God-centred life. Humbly he acquiesced in many an undeserved hardship. His faith in the ways of God's providence never faltered. In everything his unfailing philosophy was: 'God knows best!' Was there ever a servant of God with a more forgiving nature? You who read of all the good and ill that befell him, and of the noble spirit with which he met every testing situation, spare a minute to ponder his fine example and to thank God for the inspiration he imparts to your own life. Especially learn from him faith in God's Promises concerning the Land -- 'Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel' [Heb 11:22]. Learn also faith in the eternal Purpose in Christ which will one day bring saints of God forth from the grave to the Life Everlasting -- 'he gave commandment concerning his bones'. Here was the Christian faith long before Christ, exhibited in the Jesus of Genesis, and written for your learning" (Harry Whittaker, Joseph 89).
Genesis outlines man's fall from grace: It begins with God, and ends with a "coffin in Egypt".
But... the "coffin" is also an "ark" of safety (it is the same word!) Joseph "the Savior of the world" was at the last put into the "ark" of God!
"Under God's guiding hand, and with tremendous effort, this spectacular character, Joseph, son of Jacob, had set the stage, for the great and long trek out of Egypt. He did not wish for an Egyptian monument, or pyramid, which would have been considered appropriate for a man of his position. So his death state, and the manner of his burial, in its impermanence, reminded the Israelites of their impermanence, and honored his God, to the Egyptians. Although dead, his mute witness to the Israelites stood through the testing times, and gave the Israelites courage, until they took him with them under Moses, all those years later, back to Shechem (Josh 24:32) after the 40 years in the wilderness" (Bev Russell, "Kith and Kin").
Reading 2 - Psa 51
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psa 51:10).
"It is the great lesson of the Law of Moses -- over and over and over. Natural man is filthy. God is absolutely pure and holy. Outer cleanness is important: inner cleanness is vital and essential. Cleansing can come only from God, but He requires a mighty effort on man's part -- as man's part. He will clean some; He will not clean others. The difference lies wholly in what they do, and how they submit, and -- above all -- in how clearly they perceive their natural filthiness, and how strongly they desire to be clean. Cleanness of heart, cleanness of thought, cleanness of motive, cleanness of life -- how beautiful and desirable they are! How unclean is the flesh and all its ways! We are washed in the Word (Eph 5:26), and in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14). Let us ever strive for absolute cleanness -- holiness, spiritual purity and beauty -- and never be satisfied with anything less" (GVG).
"Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness" (v 14).
"Do not give fair names to foul sins; call them what you will, they will smell no sweeter. What God sees them to be, that you should labour to feel them to be; and with all openness of heart acknowledge their real character. Observe, that David was evidently oppressed with the heinousness of his sin. It is easy to use words, but it is difficult to feel their meaning. This psalm is the photograph of a contrite spirit. Let us seek after the like brokenness of heart; for however excellent our words may be, if our heart is not conscious of the death-deservingness of sin, we cannot expect to find forgiveness" (CHS).
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (v 17).
"Every natural disappointment can and should be a thankful stepping-stone to greater peace with God, for by contrast to all things and persons human it emphasizes the unassailable dependability of that peace. What we grieve over as a loss, or disappointment, or deprivation, may be a great emancipation and deliverance and opportunity, a fresh turn of our lives in a higher and more satisfying direction. God's ways of teaching and correcting us are strange and wise and beautiful. The sweetest, deepest scent is from the crushed flower. Natural disappointment