The Biblical Evidences for God’s Existence: The Fool’s Perspectives.

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” (Psalm 14:1a)

What are some of the atheistic and naturalistic alternative worldviews people ascribe to instead of biblical theism? The following is but a brief list.

Soli deo Gloria!   

Rationalism. In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is “any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification.”

Hedonism. Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).

Epicureanism. In the Epicurean view, the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship, and living a virtuous and temperate life. He lauded the simple life, and advocated reducing one’s desires, verging on asceticism. He argued that when eating, one should not eat too richly, for it could lead to dissatisfaction later, such as the grim realization that one could not afford such delicacies in the future.

Stoicism. Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude as a means of overcoming destructive emotions.

Materialism. In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter.

Pessimistic Existentialism. Useless passions are passions that are futile. They have no meaning. Sartre’s grim conclusion is that all of our caring, our concerns, our deepest aspirations are empty of significance. Human life is meaningless. It is a cosmic joke and the cold, impersonal, indifferent universe is the comedian. It would be better for us if the universe were hostile. At least we could be involved with an enemy that might possibly be vanquished or persuaded to be friendly. But an indifferent universe is a universe that doesn’t care. It doesn’t care, because it cannot care; it is impersonal.

Secularism. Secularism is the separation of a government, organization or institution from religion and/or religious beliefs.

Sentimental Humanism is a secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making.

Pragmatism. Whatever works is good. The ends justify the means.

Moralism. In our own context, moralism is one of the most seductive false gospels in existence. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced solely to improvements in mankind’s behavior.

Atheistic Naturalism has in many ways replaced Christianity as the main religion of the Western world. Evolution has become naturalism’s principle dogma.

What does Atheistic Naturalism look like in the everyday experience of life and living? This question will begin to be considered next time.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Biblical Evidences for God’s Existence: The Fool.

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” (Psalm 14:1a)

What does the Bible teach about God’s existence? Joe Boot writes, in his article Broader Cultural and Philosophical Challenges, that “We must begin any pursuit of knowledge with confident submission to God in his Word.”

Nowhere does Scripture argue for the validity of God’s reality. On the contrary, the very first verse in the Bible sets forth the existence of God as truth. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 ESV).

There are two basic philosophies in the world. Call them worldviews. These worldviews form the basis of how people live and think about life. However, these two worldviews are diametrically opposed to each other. They always have been and always will be. They are mutually exclusive. They represent the ongoing conflict between truth and deception, between what is real and what is unreal.

The first basic worldview is known as Biblical Theism. It is the religious belief that humanity, life, the earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being.  As we will see, the proposition of creationism begins at the very outset of God’s revealed truth, the Bible. The consequence of Biblical Theism is that the God of the Bible is the One, True Creator (Is. 42:1-5; Acts 17:22-28). Therefore, creation is accountable to Him. The purpose of life therefore is to glorify the One, True Creator by loving Him and loving others by being obedient to His revealed truth contained in the Holy Scriptures (I Cor. 10:31; Eph. 1:15).

The second basic worldview is known as Atheistic Naturalism.  Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the world and that nothing exists beyond the natural world. Natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural world. The goal of science is to discover and publish these laws.

Philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no ultimate “purpose” in nature.  The conclusion of Atheistic Naturalism is that there is no God to whom the natural world is accountable. There is no ultimate and singular purpose to life and living. Therefore, the natural world does whatever it desires in order to establish some reason or purpose for life and living.

Psalm 14 is a Psalm of David. He began the psalm by acknowledging the reality of the fool. The fool, no matter when or who, is a senseless, godless, and worthless individual. The fool is not unintelligent but lacks understanding or even the capacity for understanding. This implies a willful moral insolence, impudence and disobedience to the law of God (Dt. 32:6, 21; Ps. 74:18; Ezek. 13:3).

The fool continues to say in his mind, emotions and will, or his soul, that God does not exist. For him, God is non-existent. The fool endeavors to live his life from this perspective. Some may even try to convince others of the value of this worldview.

Have you encountered such an individual? I have. I’m sure you have also. What specific purpose does the fool embrace in order to acquire a purpose for life within the natural realm void of a personal God? This is what we will examine when next we meet.

Have a blessed day in the knowledge that the One, True God of the Bible exists. He not only exists, but He has made Himself known (Ps. 19).

Soli deo Gloria!

The Journey of Joseph. The Death of Joseph.

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” (Genesis 50:22–26 (ESV)

Having returned to Egypt following the burial of his father, Jacob, Joseph remained in Egypt. So also did his extended family including his eleven brothers. Joseph would live until the age of 110.

Joseph’s life was full of the LORD’s blessings. For example, he lived to see the birth of his great-great grandchildren by Ephraim. He also lived to see his grandchildren by Manasseh. Joseph experienced the joy of being a grandfather (Prov. 17:6).

When Joseph’s death drew near, he prophesied that the LORD would bring Jacob’s family, Israel, out of the land of Egypt. The LORD would return them to the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex.3:1-8).

Joseph then asked his brothers to return his body to Canaan, following his death, when the appropriate time arrived (Ex. 13:19). This request was based upon the assurance of the previous prophecy.

Joseph’s life in many ways parallels are own as believers in Christ. Trails may come in a variety of ways and circumstances (James 1:1-5), but the LORD knows what is best for each of us. Therefore, we trust Him (Prov. 3:5-6) for He is trustworthy (Psalm 119:138).

One author explains, “Joseph died before seeing the Lord consummate His redemption, as today’s passage indicates. Jacob’s favorite son certainly led a favored life, for he ruled over Egypt (Gen. 41:39–43) and fathered two tribes of Israel (48:1–6). Furthermore, Joseph enjoyed a great blessing in seeing many of his grandchildren, some of whom he adopted as his own (50:23; Ps. 128Prov. 17:6). He also lived to age 110, the ideal lifespan according to the ancient Egyptians. Still, Joseph died outside of the Promised Land (Gen. 50:26), the place where our Father pledged an abundant and secure life to all who kept the covenant (Gen. 15; 17:1–14; 22:15–18; 35:9–15). Joseph realized the Lord saves all who believe and follow His word, even if salvation’s greatest reward is not received until after death (see 2 Tim. 4:6–8).”

John 11:25–26 (ESV) records Jesus saying, 25I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Do you?

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of the State of Men after Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead.

We will continue to devote each Lord’s Day in 2022 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2022. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Thirty-Two. Of the State of Men after Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead.

1. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption;a but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence,b immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies:c and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day.d Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

a. Gen 3:19Acts 13:36. • b. Eccl 12:7Luke 23:43. • c. Phil 1:23 with Acts 3:21 and Eph 4:102 Cor 5:168Heb 12:23. • d. Luke 16:23-24Acts 1:251 Pet 3:19Jude 1:6-7.

2. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed;a and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.b

a. 1 Cor 15:51-521 Thes 4:17. • b. Job 19:26-271 Cor 15:42-44.

3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.a

a. John 5:28-29Acts 24:151 Cor 15:42Phil 3:21.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post. Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Journey of Joseph. God’s Good Purposes.

15When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:15–20 (ESV)

Romans 8:28 (NASB95) says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” God has a purpose and a plan in everything that happens in our lives. He orchestrates events in our lives according to the good pleasure of sovereign will (Eph.1:3-6). Today’s text from Genesis 50:15-20 parallels Romans 8:28.

Jacob had died. It was in the immediate aftermath of his death that Joseph’s brothers wondered if he would finally enact retribution against them for their sin against him years before (Gen. 37). They reasoned, ““It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”

The brothers could not come in contact directly with Joseph due to his high government positon, so they sent a message to him. The message said, “Your father gave this command before he died:‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”

Joseph was genuinely grieved by their concerns. Did his brothers not realize that God sovereignly directed all the events in Joseph’s life, including his brothers’ actions against him? Apparently they did not.

When Joseph and his brothers gathered together, he made a remarkable statement reflecting the divine providence of God. Joseph said, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Joseph assures his brothers of his pardon, stating the lesson his life teaches us: God overrides the intents and deeds of wicked men to bring about good (Gen. 50:20). Or, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). What the Lord does and allows is always good — because a good and praiseworthy end is always His goal, and He always accomplishes it. God blamelessly works concurrently with men, even in their evil events, to achieve an ultimate good. We can only trust with confidence a Lord who controls everything. If He is unable to use wickedness to further His plan, then evil remains free from His rule, and we could never be sure of His final victory.”

John Calvin says, “Let the impious busy themselves as they please, let them rage, let them mingle heaven and earth; yet they shall gain nothing by their ardor; and not only shall their impetuosity prove ineffectual, but shall be turned to an issue the reverse of that which they intended, so that they shall promote our salvation, though they do it reluctantly.”    

Remember, our God reigns. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Journey of Joseph. Jacob is Buried.

11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.” (Genesis 50:11–14 (ESV)

How often to you consider the impact of a single life when watching a funeral procession traveling down the road in route to a cemetery? If there are a few cars in the procession you may think the deceased had a limited impact upon the people they knew. However, a long procession is often regarded as a testimony that the deceased was dearly loved and had impacted many people.  

Jacob’s burial did not go unnoticed by the inhabitants of Canaan. The Canaanites saw the mourning which took place and remarked that it was a heavy and burdensome mourning ceremony. That is why they called the place where this burial occurred as Abel-mizraim meaning a meadow of Egypt east of the Jordan River.

In death, much more so than in life, Jacob’s sons were obedient to him and fulfilled his commands for his burial. He was buried in the cave of the field at Machpelah. This was the field which Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, bought from Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23:10-20). As can be the case with large families, this family’s traditions reach back several generations.

One author writes, “The death of a believer provides us with a good opportunity to reaffirm our belief in the resurrection of the dead. Though we properly grieve the loss of a loved one because we no longer have fellowship with him on earth, we should also be joyful, because we know that our separation will only be temporary and that those who die in Christ have certainly passed into new life. Do what you can to encourage other believers to rejoice in Christ when Christians die.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Journey of Joseph: Jacob’s Burial Procession.

So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days.” (Genesis 50:7–10 (ESV)

Genesis 46:1–4 (ESV) says, “So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

What God promised Jacob as the patriarch prepared to depart for Egypt was fulfilled as Joseph prepared to bring Jacob’s body back to Canaan. God would also keep His promise in making Jacob’s family into a great nation (Ex. 1:1-7).

Who all accompanied Joseph back to Canaan in order to bury Jacob’s body? There was quite an entourage. The text says there were chariots and horsemen. Moses concluded by saying, “It was a very great company.”

The persons involved in the journey included Joseph, all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of Pharaoh’s household, and all the elders of Egypt. Additionally, Joseph’s family came, along with his brothers. The only ones who remained behind in Goshen were the children, the flocks and the herds.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “The original audience of Genesis — the Israelites freed from Egyptian slavery — also needed assurance of God’s faithfulness. Our Father inspired Moses to write Genesis to tell His people that they must stand against the pharaoh and follow Moses into the Promised Land. By keeping His promise to Jacob, God revealed His fidelity to the Israelites and gave them confidence that He would keep His promise to be with them as they left the land of the Nile (Ex. 3–4).”

Upon their arrival in Canaan, there was a great lamentation in memory of Jacob. The time for mourning lasted seven days.

Dr. Sproul explains, “Since the Promised Land was the realm of God’s presence and blessing, Jacob’s voyage from Egypt to Canaan dimly reveals his passing from death to life, which will be fully consummated at the resurrection (Rev. 20:11–15). Today, we can rejoice when a believer dies, even as we grieve our loss, because we know he has entered new life.”

Early church father, John Chrysostom, comments: “Since death has been turned into slumber and life’s end into repose, and since there is great certitude of resurrection, we rejoice and exult at death like people moving from one life to another” (Homilies on Genesis, 67.17).

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV) says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”  

The death of Jacob brought about a time of grief and mourning for Jacob’s family. It is evidenct that for all his human frailties, Jacob’s family loved him. It was appropriate for them to mourn his death.

It is also appropriate for believers in Christ today to mourn the death of their loved ones. Thankfully, for those who die in Christ, there is the confidence of eternal life in heaven. That eternal truth sooths the grieving heart of those loved ones who remain on earth.  

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Journey of Joseph: Joseph Requests to Bury His Father.

And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’ ” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” (Genesis 50:4–6 (ESV)

It is interesting to observe from today’s text that even though Joseph was the second in command of all of Egypt, he did not presume upon his authority. Prior to his leaving for Canaan to bury his father Jacob, Joseph requested permission from Pharaoh to make the journey.

Additionally, Joseph did not inquire directly to Pharaoh but rather spoke to his household. He asked them to speak to Pharaoh on his behalf regarding his request. This displays not only a sensitivity to palace decorum but also a humble spirit (Micah 6:8).  

Another reason for Joseph not speaking directly to Pharaoh was cultural. During times of mourning, it was Hebrew custom to let one’s hair and beard grow. Such an appearance would have been objectionable to Pharaoh (Gen. 41:14).

Following the seventy days of mourning, Joseph prepared to take Jacob’s back to Canaan for burial. Pharaoh was more than willing to give Joseph permission to go and make the journey. Joseph promised to return to Egypt following the burial.

One commentator explains, “Jacob’s favorite son is deferential when speaking with the king. His conditional statement, “If now I have found favor,” is designed to communicate the gravity and importance of the request. Joseph implies here that his stewardship should give him enough standing in Pharaoh’s eyes to have his wish granted. Moreover, Joseph leaves out Jacob’s plea that he not be interred in the land of the Nile (Gen. 47:29–31) as well as his desire to lay with his ancestors (Gen. 49:28–33), most likely because he did not want the pharaoh to doubt his loyalty to Egypt. Joseph pledges to return to Egypt and stresses that Jacob belonged in the tomb he labored to prepare to assuage any fears the king might have. Therefore, Pharaoh grants his request (50:5–6). Though an adult himself, Joseph remains committed to honoring his father by honoring his godly plea for burial in Canaan. May we all likewise be committed to respecting our elders (Deut. 5:16).”

No matter how old and successful we may be, God calls us to respect those who are older and who possess positions of responsibility. These positions may include the work place, school administrators and teachers, neighbors, government employees such as police and first responders, along with church leadership (Ephesians 6:1-3; I Timothy 5:1; I Peter 2:13-17).

Whatever our age, may each believer in Christ show respect to those for whom respect is due. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Journey of Joseph: Mourning over Jacob’s Death.  

1Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.” (Genesis 50:1–3 (ESV)

No matter how much you prepare for a loved one’s eventual death, it is still a shock when it occurs. Both my parents died following an extended illness and eventual hospice care. This was the same situation with my wife’s mother. Preparations were made and goodbyes were said prior to their demise. However, the arrival of their deaths was a disturbing moment.

Unfortunately, there are some families who do not have the opportunity to properly prepare for mourning. A longtime and dear friend of mine was suddenly killed in an automobile accident. There was no emotional preparation for her homecoming to heaven. Her death was sudden and severe.

In both scenarios, the sudden realization of the reality of death hits hard. Thankfully, the sting of death is softened by the reality that loved ones are believers in Christ.

Even though Joseph knew his dad was dying, the reality of Jacob’s death still impacted him emotionally. Joseph fell on his father’s face, wept over him and kissed him. His sorrow was real and sincere.

Today’s text goes on to say that Joseph instructed his Egyptian servants and physicians to embalm Jacob. As today, embalming was done to slow down the process of the body’s decay following death. The process then would involve anointing the body with perfumes.   

The Egyptians wept as a sign of their sorrow. It was an example of the respect the Egyptians had for Joseph and for his father.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Egypt holds Jacob in high esteem; the mourning period observed when he dies (Gen. 49:33–50:3) is only two days shorter than the one prescribed for a pharaoh’s death. They also embalm Jacob’s body, at Joseph’s behest, for the long journey ahead. Similarly, the Israelites buried their dead instead of burning them, because preserving the body intact exhibited a belief that God will renew what He made “very good” (1:26–31), a resurrection to life incorruptible (Dan. 12:21 Cor. 15:42); thus, later Israelites continued to bury their dead. Cremation was avoided since it was applied to heinous sinners (Lev. 20:14; 21:9) and was practiced in ancient times by pagan idolaters.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV) says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Believers in Christ are not immune to grief. Death occurs for believers and non-believers alike. However, a Christian’s grief is not a hopeless sorrow. There is a confident expectation beyond the grave for the believer in Christ and for their family.

Soli deo Gloria!    

The Journey of Joseph: Jacob’s Death.  

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 29 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 49:28–33 (ESV)

Moses recorded the final moments of the patriarch Jacob. Following Jacob’s blessings upon his sons he requested that they bury him in the land of Canaan. This paralleled his earlier request of Joseph (Gen. 47:29-31).   

Jacob said to them, ““I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.”

In effect, Jacob desired to be buried in the family plot. He possessed a strong sense of his family’s heritage.

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Like Abraham and Isaac, Jacob demonstrates his trust in the Lord’s promise in asking to be buried with them at Machpelah, in the good land the Creator promised to his family (Gen. 49:29–32). God’s faithfulness to His word guarantees Jacob’s salvation, and he teaches his sons this lesson by having them bury him there.”

John Calvin writes, “Jacob did not wish to be carried into the land of Canaan, as if he would be nearer to heaven for being buried there; but that, being dead, he might claim possession of a land which he had held during his life…because it was profitable that the memory of the promise should be renewed, by this symbol, among his surviving sons, in order that they might aspire to it.”

Following his blessings and last instructions to his sons, Jacob died. Today’s text says, “When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”

Dr. John Walvoord states, “So Jacob died after 147 years (Gen. 47:28) of struggle; his sorrow came to an end. Infirmities, he had many; sins, not a few. But Jacob had an unquenchable desire for God’s blessing. He had a deep piety that habitually relied on God in spite of all else. In the end he died as a man of genuine faith. He learned in his life where the real blessings came from, and he fought with God and man to be privileged to hand them on to his sons.”

It has been said that it is not as important how you start, but how you finish. Jacob finished well, by the grace of God. May we strive to finish well in the life the LORD has given to us.

Soli deo Gloria!