Summary: This sermon is based on the life of Joseph, and on the coats that he wore. It also has a comparison with Jesus. It talks about the righteousness that God offers us through Jesus Christ.
The Coats that Changed His Course
Jacob had twelve sons who became the twelve patriarchs of Israel. In this message we will study the life of Joseph (as recorded in Genesis 37-41), who was the eleventh born son of Jacob. Whenever we think of Joseph, the one image that would come to our minds is that he received an amazing coat from his father Jacob. However, as we study the life of Joseph, we will be surprised to note there were other coats too that played a vital role in his life.
1. The Coat of Favor
Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age. Also, he made him a tunic of many colors. Genesis 37:3 (NKJV)
The first coat that Joseph received was the coat of favor that his father Jacob gifted him. This was an exotic multi-colored coat that expressed Jacob’s boundless love for Joseph, who was the son born in his old age. It was also a fact that Jacob loved Joseph so much the more because he was the son of his wife Rachel, whom Jacob loved very much.
Sadly, this coat became the cause for envy among his elder brothers, who could not stand this favoritism that their father Jacob showed towards Joseph. Joseph told on his brothers when they did wrong which annoyed them further. When Joseph shared his two dreams with his brothers, wherein it seemed that he would rule over them, this added to their already existing hatred and jealousy.
On an opportune day, when Joseph came searching for his brothers to give them food in obedience to his father’s instruction, the elder brothers made use of the opportunity and sold him as a slave to some Ishmaelite merchants who were going to Egypt. They stripped Joseph of that same coat and used it to deceive their father Jacob. They dipped the coat in the blood of a goat they slaughtered and made their father believe that Joseph was mauled by a wild animal.
2. The Coat of Fabrication
When Joseph reached Egypt, he ended up as a slave in the house of Potiphar, who was one of the Pharaoh’s officials. Joseph was not alone, for God was with Joseph, and made him a successful man. In Genesis 39:2-6, we read that God prospered Joseph, and gave Him success in everything he did. He found favor in the eyes of Potiphar who put him in charge of his entire household. The blessings of the Lord rested on Potiphar’s house because of Joseph.
However, Joseph was also a handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife got infatuated with him. As she constantly hounded him to have an affair with her, Joseph refused to do so. One day as Joseph attended to his duties, Potiphar’s wife held on to his cloak and begged him to come to bed with her. Here are Joseph’s words to her as recorded in Genesis 37:9, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
As Joseph fled from her presence he left behind his coat in her hands. This coat that was left in the hands of Potiphar’s wife was used by her shrewdly, to frame Joseph falsely to her husband as having an evil intent towards her. This was the coat of fabrication, which landed Joseph in prison for no fault of his.
3. The Coat of Fame
Even though Joseph ended up in prison, the Lord was with him, and he got promoted to be the head over all the other prisoners. In that prison, were two prisoners, one of whom was the Pharaoh’s Cup-bearer and the other his baker. One day Joseph observed that these two men were downcast over dreams they had dreamt the previous night and he helped interpret their dreams. In keeping with Joseph’s interpretation, the baker was executed by Pharaoh and the cup-bearer, restored to his position in the palace. Though Joseph had requested the cup-bearer to put in a word to Pharaoh on his behalf, he forgot all about Joseph for two long years.
It was only when Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams, that the cup-bearer remembered Joseph, who was called to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams for him. God revealed to Joseph that the two dreams of the seven good cows and the seven good heads of grain referred to the seven years of abundance, while the seven lean ugly cows and seven worthless heads of grain referred to the seven long years of severe famine ahead.
The explanation and the solution that Joseph offered Pharaoh so pleased him that he recognized that Joseph was wise, discerning and that the Spirit of God rested on Joseph. Joseph was now elevated to become second in command to Pharaoh. We read about this in Genesis 41:39-43. It was now time for Joseph to receive his third coat. This was the coat of fame or honor, made of fine linen from Pharaoh himself. As Joseph rode in splendor on the second chariot behind Pharaoh, all the people of Egypt paid respect and bowed their knee to him.