Have you ever attended a state funeral? When a famous politician or someone who has done something great for their country dies, they tend to get a state funeral. Depending on the greatness of the person and the measure of their fame, the funeral could be a small ceremony of a few people or a large parade of tens of thousands.
Some of the most famous state funerals of recent history include Presidents like John F. Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln, Royalty like Princess Diana, or religious leaders like Pope John Paul II or Ghandi.
But perhaps the greatest funeral in all of history took place thousands of years ago in Egypt. And this is the funeral we will read about in today’s Scripture passage.
Please read Genesis 50:1-14.
There are so many interesting things to note in this passage: the embalming and mourning of Jacob lasted nearly 4 months; the entire nation of Egypt mourned a man that few of them had even met; all the important people in the nation of Egypt made the journey to the threshing floor of Atad, leaving the nation leaderless for months; and the mourning over Jacob was so great that the Canaanites renamed the place of mourning to Abel-mizraim (mourning of Egypt).
But perhaps the greatest thing to note is that Jacob’s death nearly concludes the story of the Patriarchs, but it does not conclude God’s story.
We will conclude our study of Genesis next week, but that will not conclude our study of God’s Word. God’s mission continues long past Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s mission continues long past Joseph, Moses and David. God’s mission continues long past Peter, John, and Paul. God’s mission has continued since He created the world. It has continued past the deaths of countless heroes of the faith, and it will continue past countless more.
Each one of us has the privilege of serving a small part in God’s grand plan, but once our part is over and we pass from this world, God’s plan will continue.
Jacob only lived in Egypt for a short time, but the entire nation mourned his death. Not because of anything he had done, but because of what God was doing through his son. Yet, when Joseph dies, he won’t get the elaborate funeral that Jacob received on his behalf. Because the focus is not on either of these men. When we see their story, we must look at it as God’s story. And when we see our story, we must look at it too as God’s story.
All of humanity is but a vapor in the wind. Each one of us is passing away. But God’s story will continue until the end of time. So, whether you live the kind of life that will earn you an elaborate state funeral, or a quiet life that few people will even notice, remember that your story is not about you—it’s all about God.
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