Honoring Our Elders

4 When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaoh’s court, “If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him, 5 ‘My father made me swear an oath and said, “I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.'”

6 Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”

7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt— 8 besides all the members of Joseph’s household and his brothers and those belonging to his father’s household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen. 9 Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company. Genesis 40:4-9

This seemed to be a funeral fit for a king! The Egyptians treated him like royalty even though he wasn’t. Their respect for the dead, and more pointedly, the father of someone in their court, was noteworthy.

As noted yesterday, the elderly in this country are being disrespected more and more. How can we help them more? How can we as a church respect our elderly more?

Rather than waiting for a formal program that may or may not get started by someone who doesn’t have your compassion for this issue, we can begin to make a difference ourselves.

  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Call an elderly relative.
  • Check in on an elderly neighbor.
    • Offer to give them rides to the store
    • Offer to do some chores around their house.
    • Ask them if you can pray for them.

If you thought about it a little, you could come up with 100 of your own activities.

There’s no use lamenting what’s not being done. Rather rejoice in your ability to do the things you can do.

Is it much? Not really, but it’s an important step in honoring those who have gone before us.

Continue Reading

Respecting the Elderly

Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. 2 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, 3 taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. Genesis 50:1-3

Joseph made all the arrangements for his father’s burial. Even the Egyptians had deep respect for Joseph’s father. I suspect it was a combination of having respect for Joseph and the elderly in its society. Because Jacob was related to Joseph and because he was elderly, they respected him.

More and more in our society, that respect for the elderly is waning. Every week I hear stories of how the elderly are now being assaulted and abused. I’m afraid the veil of civility concerning the elderly has been lifted and we’ll see this kind of activity more frequently.

Many over the age of 70 or 75 feel no one cares about them anymore since their kids and grandkids have their own lives to live.

Based on these words, there’s probably someone you need to call today, isn’t there? Or several people. It’s not a grandiose gesture but one that counts.

Continue Reading

Glimpses of Heaven

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

The Death of Jacob
29 Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 31 There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried, there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah. 32 The field and the cave in it were bought from the Hittites.”

33 When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Genesis 49:28-33

Jacob knew he was dying and told his sons where he wanted to be buried, where the rest of his family was buried. When he was blessing them, he was still in Egypt. It wasn’t his home. He wanted to be home in Canaan, the land of promise. He had the assurance that his sons would in fact take his body back to Canaan.

The last phrase in this chapter is interesting: “gathered to his people.” It implies that they are waiting around for him to come to them. That certainly is a fascinating way to look at death. There is hope in that kind of thinking.

Of course there is greater hope in knowing this life we live is not the end…at all. People we know are waiting on the other side. What does that even look like? We don’t know. What are they doing there right now? We don’t know. How will they know when we arrive? No idea. Will they know? Probably.

You see, throughout the Scriptures we get glimpses of heaven. We don’t get the full scene, but mere glimpses. We try to put it all together with our finite minds and it falls short, woefully short. We can’t comprehend a minute in heaven let alone full eternity.

Take a few moments to think about heaven. What do you know about it? What do you think about it? What does the Bible say about it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as we learn together.

Continue Reading

Of Mornings and Evenings

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf;
in the morning he devours the prey,
in the evening he divides the plunder.” Genesis 49:27

Even though Benjamin was the last of the 12 sons of Jacob, Jacob noted that he would probably be a warrior. In Judges 19-20, his tribe was teamed up with others and were involved in a variety of wars. He was then able to divide up the plunder for some of his brethren.

The Apostle Paul was also a Benjamite (Romans 11:1). The seeds he sowed in his “morning” would stay with him the rest of his life. He was a persecutor and murderer, and while God did forgive him, he had to wrestle with that the rest of his days.

Having said that, the passion and zeal he has in his morning certainly carried over to his evening. You couldn’t find a more passionate preacher than Paul.

Similarly we have mornings and evenings in our lives as well. Some are still battling residual habits and sins and traits (good and bad) that you carried over from your morning days. In other words, you’re reaping what you’ve sown. However, we still need to wrestle with the bad traits and habits from that time. That’s why it’s utterly important to plant good seeds into the children of each generation. Otherwise, that generation will reap the bad traits of when they were growing up.

What kinds of sees am I talking about? Criticisms, negativity, pessimism, put downs, constant frowning, cursing, excessive TV, and badmouthing people in front of them, to name a few.

People can and do change, yes, but some habits are hard to shake even under the best of circumstances.

So why make it difficult on kids if there’s no need? 

Continue Reading

The Battles We Face

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty, who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers. Genesis 49:22-26

Jacob knocked the ball out of the park with this blessing. Even though Joseph was one of Jacob’s youngest, he considered him “the prince among his brothers.” Joseph was highly favored in the Jacob household.

Joseph knew all along that God’s hand was upon him and delivered him from several significant ordeals.

Joseph had many enemies who shot their arrows at him. His own brothers were the first of the archers to do just that. But Joseph knew where his strength and hope lay.

God’s hand is on each of us who call ourselves Believers. These battles we face are treacherous and many. The enemy does not let up. He will not give you solace or an inch of breathing room. The sooner we realize we are in an all out war, the easier it will be for us to defend ourselves against the enemy and his devices.

The enemy is, indeed, more powerful than we are. However, the God we serve is infinitely more power than this enemy. He delights in us calling on him, early and often.

Continue Reading
Close Menu