O dem bones!
"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."
Are you catching on?
By faith Isaac, by faith Jacob, by faith Joseph!
We're looking at hand-me-down generations
leaving blessings and instructions.
Faith has a generational effect.
We have a choice to be like Esau, or
like Jacob's (Israel's) other sons
who tried to kill their brother Joseph,
who in turn saved their very lives.
Yet even a hero like that was concerned
about where to put his and his daddy's bones.
He wanted them to be carried to the Promised Land.
Interestingly enough, Adam Clarke in the 1700's commented on those bones saying, "the sarcophagus now in the British Museum, vulgarly called Alexander's coffin, that it is more probably the coffin of Joseph himself; and should the time ever arrive in which the hieroglyphics on it shall be interpreted, this conjecture may appear to have had its foundation in truth." Hmm.
He wanted his bones in the Promise Land, not in a British Museum. The hieroglyphic code of Egypt has been indeed cracked since then (too bad for Joseph Smith's who got exposed as a fraud), but I don't know if this was ever interpreted to know whose coffin it really was. But that's going down another rabbit trail.
Here's proof that one of my ancestor's used a cane!
I have a few canes around my house. Both my man and I have needed to lean upon them from time to time. Even our son with a sprained ankle used a cane, a stick of firewood, to limp out of his Civil War Reenactment campsite. As he was leaning heavily on it, a visitor in the camp asked him if he was really hurt or still playing as if he was injured on the battle field.
Adam Clarke recognized the need of Jacob to worship even when leaning on his staff. "It appears , that at the time Joseph visited his father, he was very weak, and generally confined to his couch, having at hand his staff; either that with which he usually supported his feeble body, or that which was the ensign of his office, as patriarch or chief of a very numerous family. The ancient chiefs, in all countries, had this staff or scepter continually at hand...It is said that when Joseph came to see his father Jacob, who was in his last sickness, Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed. Still I conceive he had his staff or scepter at hand; and while sitting upon the bed, with his feet on the floor, he supported himself with his staff. When Joseph sware to him that he should be carried up from Egypt, he bowed himself on his bed's head, still supporting himself with his staff, which probably with this last act he laid aside, gathered up his feet, and reclined wholly on his couch...The 'shachah' signifies, not only to bow, but also to worship, because acts of adoration were preformed by bowing and prostration."
Even in death, Queen Victoria holds her scepter.
One thing we can take away from these verses is that one can still worship God though aged and feeble. One can still pass on the faith. When it all comes down to what this life is for, it's not things, but the love of God with our dearest hope that it will be passed down.
I am blessed by the lingering aroma of the faith of my grandparents and great-grandparents passed on down to me. Yet, there are scoundrels and skeletons in our closet, slave-owners without conscience back then too. One of the things my great grandfather, "Uncle Bud," was able to do in his mother's last days in Texas was to convince her of the wickedness of slavery. In fact, he had married a woman, Miss Sally, who in her growing up years had hardness of heart towards slavery as her family "owned" some. When in her teens, She had even left evidence in a letter disdaining their slaves. However, the Gospel freed these Southerners who were enslaved to wrong thinking. It is vital to know what we lean on in our last days is the Truth. This wooden staff, cane, or scepter outlived these patriarchs, though it was used to lean heavily on in order to pass on the faith.
I don't care so much where my old bones will be scattered as ashes because my Promise Land is in the sweet bye and bye, the great reunion waiting for me in the sky. But may my last act be one of worship and passing on my faith.
"Lean on me when you're not strong...I'll help you carry on..."