Defeating Death

“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (Heb. 11:20–22).

 

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Faith triumphs over death.

 
Commentator Matthew Henry said, “Though the grace of faith is of universal use throughout the Christian’s life, yet it is especially so when we come to die. Faith has its great work to do at the very last, to help believers to finish well, to die to the Lord so as to honor Him, by patience, hope and joy so as to leave a witness behind them of the truth of God’s Word and the excellency of His ways.”
 
God is honored when His people die triumphantly. When we’ve lived a life to His glory, and have joyfully left the world behind to enter into His presence for all eternity, He is pleased, for “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” (Ps. 116:15).
 
Many believers who have dreaded facing death have experienced a special measure of God’s grace that made their final hours the sweetest and most precious of their lives.
 
Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are examples of men who faced death with great faith and confidence. Each “died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (Heb. 11:13). They hadn’t seen all God’s promises fulfilled, but by faith they passed them on to their children.
 
These men didn’t have perfect faith. Joseph was exemplary, but Isaac and Jacob often vacillated in their walk with God. Yet, each ended his life triumphantly. That’s the reward of all who trust God and cling to His promises.
 
Like every believer before you, you haven’t seen the fulfillment of all God’s promises. But certainly you’ve seen far more than Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph did. How much more, then, should you trust God and encourage those who follow you to do the same!
 
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Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His marvelous grace, which triumphs over sin and death.
 

For Further Study: Read the final words of Jacob and Joseph in Genesis 48:1–49:33 and 50:22–26.

 

MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 338). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


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