Coat reading: Genesis 37:3-4, 23-24
Joseph, Jacob’s 11th son is our focus today. Here is a clear case of sibling rivalry and favoritism in the family. Joseph was the favored son and EVERYONE knew it.
While in Haran, Jacob married two sisters. These sisters each had a maid. ALL FOUR of these women would give Jacob children. Of these four women, Jacob loved Rachel the most. She also had the most trouble conceiving a child. Joseph was her first child but Jacob’s 11th.
I’m sure Jacob loved each of his children when they were born but the birth of Joseph was a near miracle for Jacob. Rachel had longed for a child her entire time with her husband. God held back that blessing from her and this left her unfulfilled. Because she hurt, Jacob hurt too. When Joseph took away Rachel’s pain Jacob couldn’t help but be deeply drawn to this child; the child of her heart. Rachel would have another child, Benjamin, but this child also brought with it Rachel’s death. Benjamin was special but no one held a candle to Joseph in his father’s heart.
Jacob had problems with his oldest three sons. Reuben slept with one of Jacob’s lesser wives. Simeon and Levi killed every man in Shechem as revenge for their sister’s rape. This put Judah, Leah’s fourth son in the top position for inheritance. Jacob would have changed that if he had heard the truth the day Joseph was sold to into slavery. Judah was the one who suggested selling him. Rueben was secretly trying to get back into his father’s good graces by rescuing Joseph from his brothers’ plot.
Jacob openly favored Joseph. He ‘rubbed salt into an open wound’ of jealousy. I’m sure there were probably a hundred different ways Jacob showed his favoritism of Joseph but the one that could not be denied was the coat Jacob made. This coat was unlike any other garment. It shouted status and supremacy. From the moment Joseph received it, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind its meaning.
Joseph further alienated himself from his brothers by sharing his dreams with them. His dreams spoke of them bowing down to him. His second dream even included his parents bowing before him. If these dreams were to be believed, and we know they will come true, puts Joseph in an even more exalted position. From almost the bottom rung to the very top and beyond.
It was not Joseph’s fault that he was his father’s favorite and he did nothing to discourage it. He also didn’t try to fit in with his brothers. When his brothers stepped out of line, Joseph shared what he knew with his father. Joseph didn’t try and build a relationship with his brothers.
God used this rivalry for His own plans. NO, He didn’t make Joseph’s brothers hate him. He used what was already in their hearts to fulfill his purpose for Joseph. Joseph would also learn quite a few lessons while in Egypt. He would learn how to run a country, starting with running a household first.
Joseph showed integrity in all he was set over. He defrauded no one but he was a shrewd negotiator. By the end of the famine, which is another story, Pharaoh owned EVERYTHING and EVERYONE except Joseph’s family.
Joseph will always be remembered for his special robe; his coat of many colors. We are given a ‘robe’ also by our Father. Zechariah 3:4 speaks of our filthy rags being replaced by a robe of righteousness. This robe identifies us as belonging to the Father. It is our ‘coat of many colors.’ It speaks of our authority over Satan and all his forces. And it tells all who see it that we are loved beyond measure by our Father.
Jesus weaved this robe for us. He started it at creation, put MANY stitches in it through His birth and life, and finished it with His death and resurrection. He stands there holding it out to all who will come to Him. He places it on us and secures it with the belt of His truth. The truth of His love.
Father God, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You for weaving for me a robe of righteousness. Not of my own works but of Jesus’. I wonder what color mine is. Does it have elegant trim? I know it fits perfectly and it also grows with me as I grow in You. Thank You for making me Yours!