Believe that God can use deployment to fulfill the larger plan for your life.
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.” (Exodus 13:19)
It is tempting to overlook a seemingly odd and morbid passage of Scripture that talks about carrying a bag of bones on a journey, but that would be a mistake. This little verse tucked into Exodus 13 has great meaning. This little verse is a statement of connection. It connects the past to the present and the present to the future. This little verse is a statement that lets us know this exodus out of Egypt is part of God’s larger plan for the Israelites.1
The book of Exodus is a continuation of the story started in Genesis. God delivered his people out of bondage not because they deserved it, but because of a promise made to Abraham who carried it to his son Isaac, who carried it to his son Jacob, who carried it to his son Joseph. Later, Joseph requested the Israelites take his bones to Canaan when they finally left Egypt (Genesis 50:24–25).2 The promise to make the Israelites a nation in the land of Canaan was a promise that captivity in Egypt would not thwart. The bones of Joseph represented a commitment by the people to trust God for their past, present, and future.
It is easy to view deployment with tunnel vision and to forget that, from a military and national perspective, a larger plan is at work. Whatever your thoughts or feelings about that military or national plan, the challenge I offer you today is to view it from a personal perspective. Believe that God can use deployment to fulfill the larger plan for your life.
It is easy to view deployment with tunnel vision and to forget that, from a military and national perspective, a larger plan is at work
Think about it: long before Moses led the Israelites out of the country, before they became slaves, even before they grew into a nation of millions in Egypt, Joseph’s inspiration already indicated that God had a grand strategy both for going into Egypt and coming out of Egypt. Over the four-hundred-year period that Israel was in captivity, it was easy to lose sight that there would be deliverance.
When the Israelites were struggling in mud quarries making one brick at a time, no doubt it was hard to see that God had a larger plan. They were just trying to make it through one day at a time. When your house is a mess, your kids are sick, and stacks of dishes are in the sink, it is hard to see how God is at work on a larger plan for your good. But: don’t forget where the bones are buried, because you will get to dig them up and carry them out. What kind of bones will you carry out?
In what ways might difficult circumstances be part of a larger plan for your good? Joseph’s bones were tangible symbols of his faith that someday the circumstances for the Israelites would get better. What bones of hope and faith are buried in your life and family? Do you have relatives that have buried a legacy of faith in you? If possible, contact a loved one or dear friend and talk about your shared faith and hope.
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, give me a hope greater than this day. Give me a hope that sees beyond the activity of the present. Give me a hope that is more than a wish, but is a strong bridge that carries me from today into tomorrow. Amen.
1 Douglas Stuart, Exodus: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2006), 326.
2 Peter Enns, Exodus: The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 270.