Summary: You have been told you should have hope . . . why? Your trial, heartache & pain make you the exception, don’t they? They would, but you are coated!
Coated - Pt. 2 - With
Introduction We are combating hopelessness. We are challenging you to quit quitting. Give up giving up. Paul told us we could be overflowing with hope. So we have begun to tell you why we should have hope. You can have hope because our Father prefers you. You are His favorite. We are coated with preference. He is for us!
Last week I read to you the familiar account of Joseph receiving the coat from his father that represented his father's preference. But I also brought to your attention the tough things that Joseph then faced due to his brother's jealousy. You know the account. Joseph is thrown into a pit. Sold into slavery. Winds up in the house of an Egyptian official. We know the official’s wife wanted Joseph but Joseph refused and her subsequent lies sends Joseph to prison (how many know that people are more comfortable with your lack of integrity than they are with character?). However, what we miss are the statements made prior to Joseph's imprisonment and then what is said about him when he has been in jail for a length of time. It is these statements that reveal why we should have hope not only due to preference but for another very real reason. See if it is obvious. It is made immediately after he arrives in Egypt.
Text: Genesis 39:2-3, 20-23
The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did.Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. You will remember that I told you that His preference will not keep you out of trouble. That is why you must also know that not only are you coated with preference but Joseph teaches us that we are...
1. Coated with presence.
So how do we continue to recognize His favor when our coating of preference seems to have no bearing and no effect on our circumstance? How does my heart remain full of hope when my world seems to be crumbling around me? How do I continue to have hope when my dreams are crushed? How do I have hope in my heart when my heart is broken? When preference seems to be questionable or to come up short we must remember that we are coated with something even greater . . . Presence!
Even when the outward, visible manifestation of his prefferedness was missing God's presence was never in question. In moments when he was falsely accused and unjustly imprisoned, totally forgotten and forsaken by those around him God's presence was there.
David apparently put high stock in God's presence. Remember his statement . . . In Psalm 139:7-12? "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
David is testifying to the persistence of His presence. I want you to value His preference. I want to make sure you never take that for granted! However, I am concerned that too many of us have elevated His preference over His presence. The issue with that is what happens when His preference isn't evident? What happens when, as His favorite, He directs your path into a place that isn't pleasurable? What happens when your steps are ordered into a situation that is worse than stinky . . . it is flat out stanky? It is then that most of us question our coatedness and then hopelessness takes hold. David knew it. Joseph knew it. We need to know it. The most significant promise we have. The most important and meaningful coat we have been given is His presence. Because if it wasn't for His presence then when our bed is hell our hope is lost. If it wasn't for His presence then darkness would black out our hope. But the greatest coat you have is that Jesus Himself declared that He will never leave you nor forsake you!