“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.
“And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke.., 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.’ 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.” Genesis 50:1-7
“Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them.'” Exodus 1:6-10
Joseph had been favored in Pharoah’s household for a long time, serving as his trusted prime minister through years of famine. But pharaohs come and go, as do their heroes. The fact that Joseph was not known by the new king may be surprising, but any escape of conversation or neglect in telling or simple passage of years that brought it about was under the sovereign control of God. He raises up and brings low, gives and takes away, and always has His eye on His own and His plan for good. What seems neglected or forgotten to us is neither by the Lord in His eternal economy. His favor sets in motion His promises, every one of which will be fulfilled. (Genesis 39:1-6,21-23; 50:20; Job 1:21; Psalm 75:7; Proverbs 15:3; Daniel 2:21)
Through the passage of years we’ll likely age into insignificance or out of remembrance. But the blessed assurance for those who are in Christ is that we are always remembered and guarded in God’s favor. Social aplomb and worldly successes come and go, but when we are saved by Jesus we are safe in Jesus and beloved forever. (Psalm 139:7-16)
What is our present and passionate motive? In this world many vie to make a name for themselves and a difference for others, to leave a lasting legacy. God graciously bestows His favor so we can spread it to others. Is my desire more to be remembered, or to finish the work God has for me? Every deed done temporally as unto Him is translated into lasting glory for Him. (John 4:34; 17:4)
Father, help me never take Your gracious favor for granted. May I be so identified with You that whether I’m known or forgotten, Yours is the remembrance and honor.