If you've been reading my blogs for any length of time, or if you have a personal relationship with me, then you know I have an affinity for classic rock-n-roll. I try to avoid the songs and groups with questionable morality, but bands like U2, The Eagles, The Beatles, and Journey...well...come on! These gifted musicians produced countless Top 100 songs that have been enjoyed for decades and still garner fans today. And most of their stuff is G-rated and often contains positive moral and cultural messages.
Surprisingly, the same can be said for "Mama, I'm coming home" by Ozzy Ozbourne. According to SongFacts, this number is about Ozzy's wife, Sharon, and her positive influence on his life and the part she played in his eventual sobriety. So, yes, it's a love song! If you've never paid attention to "Mama" on the radio, the lyrics are boldly poetic and the emotional sentiment beautiful. Take a listen or look sometime!
As odd as it may sound, it is "Mama" that I thought about this evening when I re-read my devotional passage for the day. I finished the Book of Genesis this morning, and, as you recall, it ends with the death of Joseph. Specifically, Genesis 50:26 reads, "And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt" (NASB). Notice that the passage says Joseph was embalmed and placed in a coffin, but it doesn't say he was buried. In fact, he wasn't buried! Joseph's family didn't bury him because he had prophesied that God would rescue the Israelites--who were exiled in Egypt at that time--and bring them back to the Promised Land, where Joseph would then be properly buried in his homeland (Gen. 50:24-25). And we know this eventually occurred a couple hundred years later after the Israelites had re-established themselves in Canaan (Joshua 24:32).
This sequence of Joseph's death, delay, and burial reminds me that as Christians, we are sojourners in a place not our own. We are like Joseph and the Israelites in Egypt: foreigners waiting to go home. John recognized this in his Gospel when he wrote, "If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world--therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19, NASB). Sure, we live in the world today, but this world is opposed to us, our Lord, and our values. Consequently, we are often rejected and made to feel like outcasts. But the wonderful reality is that this place is not where we'll spend eternity. In fact, there is a better place prepared for us--a homeland that awaits our arrival.
So, as I pondered Genesis 50:26 this evening, it occurred to me that my heart sings a new song. The song itself is based on the imperfect, creative work of a man named Ozzy, but it is made new in light of the glorious anticipation of a return home--a return to the bosom of my Lord, where perfection, painlessness, and joy are the norms and where all of my weaknesses fade and all of His strengths burn brightly. And such is the future for many of you as well. So, we should commit ourselves to this new song and sing it with all of our might! The chorus is simple: "Abba, Abba, I'm coming home!"