The End of the Beginning
Genesis begins with "In the beginning God created" everything good, but it ends wtih "Joseph died…and he was put in a coffin in Egypt."This speaks to the damage that sin had done, ravaging the entire Creation; and it speaks to the still-unfulfilled promise of God that he would give his people a land to call their own. Though God created humans to live forever, Joseph died. Although God led Abraham away from his home in pursuit of a Promised Land, Joseph is put in a coffin in Egypt. Humanity has gone from Eden to a coffin, Israel from the Promised Land to Egypt.Yet, that is not the whole story. That is not the Big Picture. Because even in the midst of death, and even in the midst of Egypt, Genesis also concludes wtih a unmistakable note of anticipation. Even as Jacob dies, he commands his body be buried expectantly in the Promised Land. Even as Joseph dies, he gives instruction for his bones to be carried up out of Egypt when God’s people "exodus" from Egypt.How can Jacob and Joseph have such confidence, such expectation, in the face of so many still-unanswered prayers and still-unfulfilled promises? We see the answer in the middle section of Genesis 50, as Joseph reminds his brothers that he is not God, but that God is God. And because God is God, his ways are not our ways. God is working in spite of all the failures in order to accomplish his perfect plan of Redemption!