Grace For Your Day March 13

The last words of a dying man are usually very powerful because they tell you what was on his mind as he left this world. For example, Sam Houston, the military leader who led the United States in the fight to annex Texas died after saying “Texas, Margaret, Texas” in order to demonstrate that was on his mind as he took his final breath. He was thinking about Texas, his favourite place on earth.

P. T. Barnum, the co-founder of Barnum & Baley’s Circus, also died after saying “How were the receipts at Madison Square Garden today?” In other words, he wanted to know how much money the circus had made. Since he spent his life building it up, he did not want to pass away until someone gave him an update on its progress.

The Roman Caesar Augustus said “I found Rome in clay; I left it to you in marble” because that is what he was thinking about. He had his mind fixed on Rome. With that in mind, the Book of Hebrews gives us the final thoughts of three other famous people in history. They are known as the Patriarchs or “Fathers of Israel.” Hebrews 11:20-22 describes them this way:
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.

On two separate occasions, this passage mentions the word “dying” in order to demonstrate that this is what was on these men’s hearts as they died. They were thinking about their faith in God.
Isaac demonstrated this when he blessed Jacob over Esau or the younger son over the older one which is not the way things were typically done at that time. Usually, the blessing went to the oldest child. However, Isaac did not do things that way because the Lord told his wife that “the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23)” and he believed it. Even though Jacob originally tricked him into giving him the oldest son’s blessing, Isaac did not change it once the oath was uttered because he took God at His Word.

Jacob did the same thing as well when he blessed Ephraim over Manasseh. Joseph also demonstrated his faith in mentioning the exodus before it occurred. “He gave orders concerning his bones” in order to take them back to the Promised Land even though he died in Egypt.

The point is that each of these men trusted in God as they died. Even though they had their shortcomings, they ended their lives well because they maintained their hope in Yahweh until the end. In doing so, they showed us that it is not how you start the race that matters the most to God. It is how you finish it because you need to trust in Him all the way. You do not need to allow your love for Him to dwindle over time which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This Sunday, we are going to look at the Patriarchs of Israel because they remind us of the importance of persevering in the faith. The Patriarchs show us that it is possible to keep your passion for God strong until the end.

This is important because, for many of us, our relationship with the Lord does the opposite of that. It starts to wear out over time and grow weaker as we become distracted by worldly things which is a tragedy because God never intended it to be that way. He wants us to draw nearer to Him every day which is why this passage is so helpful for us because it shows us what that looks like in the lives of these three great men.

Please join us as we talk about that on Sunday. The service begins at 9:30.
- Jeremy Cagle