Weekly Devotion – Genesis 50:6

Published 5:56 am Friday, August 30, 2019

By Mike Caton

Genesis 50:6, Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.”

Many commentators put the emphasis here on the oath, the fact that Joseph swore to his father that he would bury him back in Canaan. The oath, the assurance, the promise that Joseph made to Jacob about this is back in 47:31. And it seems there was great relief on Jacob’s part to know that his bones would eventually rest back where his father’s bones were buried. Though the Egyptians would care nothing about a grave back in Canaan, though they would naturally think their graves would be better, and though Pharaoh might not have wanted to let Joseph be gone for such a long time, he allowed it because Joseph had sworn and given his word.

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Do we see giving our word as such a binding thing? When we get right down to it, all we really have is our word, our honor. The things of this earth are fleeting at best, they come and go, and in fact we know when we get something it is only going to last for so long. Everything has a life expectancy; whether it is a loaf of bread, a new computer, or a new car, we get it knowing it will not last forever. But when we give our word to someone, when we promise (whether we use that word or not), that we are going to do something, that ought to be binding on us. As far as is humanly possible, we are going to do that thing.

Jesus later tells us we ought not have to swear, we need to let our yes be yes and our no be no. Our word is our bond, our honor, our assurance. There is no need to embellish it with other words and promises. What we say ought to be good enough.

Father, help my words and actions match. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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