::R1646 : page 126::
JOSEPH’S LAST DAYS
II. QUAR., LESSON VI., MAY 6, GEN. 50:14-26
Golden Text—”The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”—Prov. 4:18
The evening of Joseph’s life reveals to us a true nobility of character, which had stood the test of many a fiery ordeal, and displayed many of the blessed fruits of righteousness. The close of his life was like the sinking of the sun to rest after the shining of an eventful day. He had been a faithful servant, a loyal friend, a merciful and sympathetic brother, a dutiful and loving son, and finally a modest and moderate prince.
To Joseph, as to most of the patriarchs, the severest trials and discipline came in early and middle life, and were rewarded with a serene old age; while to many others such as the Apostle enumerates in Heb. 11, the last days were tragic, and they filled the martyr’s grave. The Lord’s discipline and testing of his children in the furnace of affliction are regarded by many as evidences of his disfavor, while their temporal prosperity is regarded as a sure sign of his favor. But this is a great mistake; for experiences of both kinds are parts of the trial and testing. We are tested on one side of our nature by the storms of adversity, and on the other by the calms of temporal prosperity; and blessed is the man who neither faints under the former, nor is beguiled by the latter. Such well rounded, symmetrical and strong characters are indeed precious in the sight of the Lord.
Such a man was Joseph: he was schooled and proved in adversity in earlier life and, in his later years, the topmost waves of temporal prosperity never seemed to move him to vanity, nor in any degree to unman him. He still looked beyond these temporal things to “the city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” His confidence in God and his trust that the promise made to Abraham should be fulfilled, never forsook him. Even when surrounded by wealth and comfort he remembered that Egypt was not the promised land; and when he was dying, he, like his father Jacob, indicated his hope in a resurrection and the subsequent fulfilment of the divine promise, by commanding that his body should be buried in the land of Canaan. “By faith, Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel [verses 24,25], and gave commandment concerning his bones.”—Heb. 11:22.
It is probable that as Joseph proved so valuable a servant to the Pharaoh who exalted him, he was continued in office by his successor on the throne, perhaps to the end of his life. The benefits he had conferred upon Egypt were of great value, and seem to have been very gratefully received and remembered.
The path of the just of the Golden Text is not an individual path, but one path in which all the just ones walk: it is the path of righteousness (Psa. 23:3), the path marked
::R1646 : page 127::
out by the Word of the Lord as one of meekness, patience, faith, love, etc.; and those who keep in this path are led of God into all truth in its due season. And this pathway becomes more and more radiant with the glorious light of divine truth as it nears “the perfect day” when the sun of righteousness shall have risen and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea—the Millennial day of Christ’s reign on earth.
All the patriarchs and prophets and saints of the past have walked in this path, and on all of them the light of God shone as it became due; but upon none did it ever shine so clearly as it shines to-day; for we are even now in the dawning of the glorious day of Christ, and soon this light will shine upon all.
— April 15, 1894 —