Do Not Bury Me in Egypt

Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried (Genesis 47:29z, 30a NIV).

Jacob has given us a great example in his dying moments. He is looking ahead in expectation. Though now in circumstances not of his choosing, he is not ready to rest in them. It should be said that Jacob’s circumstances at this time of life was very good. Yet he wanted to be in Canaan, where his fathers were buried.

This was no emotional decision; though certainly the memory of his fathers would have stirred the emotions. Jacob was definitely an emotional man. Yet the force of his deathbed desire was a strong sense of faith. It was faith that God would keep the promise that He had made to his fathers. Therefore, he was affirming his faith that he believed in what God had promised.

This proclamation or demand of Jacob teaches us that we are to keep our eye constantly on the promises of God. It does not matter whether our present circumstances seem good enough. What matters is whether we are directing our lives according to what God has promised. Jacob was also transferring the legacy of faith like a burning torch to his children when he made them promise to bury him in Canaan. Later we find that Joseph too, in his deathbed, made the Israelites promise that they would carry up his bones from Egypt to Canaan.

What if Jacob never made his children make this promise? Then the children of Israel would have found comfort in Egypt. They might never had thought about returning to the promised land. In other words, the God of their fathers, would have become a memory of the past. But Jacob, through his insistence, made sure that the people of God would remain true to the God who had called out their fathers and blessed them. This statement of Jacob challenges us today to think beyond our good circumstances to the God who called us!