As we get ready to move from Genesis and study the exodus this Sunday, I am comforted and compelled by the words of Joseph, “You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”  Right before he dies, Joseph comforts his brothers with these words, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land and to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”  And so, as readers, we are comforted and confirmed in our thinking that God is in control.  He is faithful to His covenant promises.

But then, the one guy who seemed to get it right and who was true and faithful to God’s purposes, always being careful to give God the glory, dies.  Genesis ends with these words, “So Joseph died, being 110 years old.  They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”  OK, not the most encouraging conclusion to a great story.  But from there it gets worse because after Joseph dies, a new Pharaoh comes on the scene and takes the growing nation of Israel as his slaves.  They aren’t going anywhere.  Seems like a pretty bad ending to a really good story.   If this happened to us, think how quickly we would be tempted to blame God for breaking His promises.  But that is because we are often reticent to look at God’s plans for us in the big picture of His redemptive purposes.  Instead, we want what we want now and never stop to think that what God is doing in our lives now might just be preparation for greater things later.  When we are called to wait on the Lord, we are quick to forget His promises that He will do all things for our good and for His glory.

As you ponder the story of Joseph and look ahead to the message of Exodus, consider these thoughts that Mark Dever presents in his book, The Message of the Old Testament. “Genesis begins with such power, universal scope, and hope of life: ‘In the beginning, God created…’ But then notice how the book ends.  Its very last words are, ‘he [Joseph] was placed in a coffin.’  Satan looks as if he has won, doesn’t he?  His rebellion against God’s creation appears to have succeeded.  Death has touched all of Adam’s sons, and the last hero in Genesis, Joseph, fades away.  The book that begins with creation ends with a coffin!  But look at where the coffin is: in Egypt, the mightiest nation on earth.  God knew what he was doing.  God knew where to plant his seeds for his purposes.  He knew exactly where to leave Joseph’s coffin.  As we will discover in our study of Exodus, the stage was set for God’s great drama of redemption and resurrection, where he would show the whole world that no nation on earth, not even the greatest superpower, could stop his plans.  And so he leaves Joseph’s coffin in Egypt.  Genesis, the book of beginnings, ends.  But God’s business is not yet finished.  Not nearly finished!”