6 09 2018

Joseph's Coat of Many Colors

I have been reading the Bible on a pretty regular basis since 1975. The one thing that constantly keeps me on my toes is that no matter how many times I have read the Scriptures before, there is always something new to see for a heart that is open to the Lord. I had just such a moment last weekend. I had read the Old Testament tale about Joseph more times than I can count. I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about the wonder boy who would end up saving his people from starvation. Not so! I was once again pleasantly surprised when the Holy Spirit showed me something I had never seen before.

 If there is one piece of wardrobe that even the non-Bible reader knows about, it is Joseph’s famous coat of many colors. Even the Broadway Show done in his honor was titled, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Genesis informs us that Jacob gave this special gift to his son Joseph to make it clear to all his other Sons that only the Boy with the fancy threads was his favorite. Hebrew tradition should have had the oldest son wearing the honor garment. Jacob who actually swiped the birthright from his older brother Esau, was never known for playing life’s game by the rules. So, he is partly to blame for the schism that grew between his sons but Joseph was no angel either. He was a cocky little tattle tale who never knew when it was time to keep his big mouth shut. You can’t blame the rest of Jacob’s kin for not thinking so highly of the kid with the flashy wardrobe.

We are told of the day that Jacob sent Joseph to check up on the kids out in the corral. Joseph was no longer welcome working with the rest as his immaturity got on the nerves of his siblings and made it impossible for them to get any work done. Joseph now hanging out at the house became Daddy’s Western Union Man. When the rest of the Brothers saw Joseph’s loud jacket with him skipping obnoxiously from down the road, they were ready to kill him. Better heads prevailed though, and they only threw him into a pit. But they do something drastic before imprisoning their own flesh and blood. This is the key action that opened my eyes to some new truth for me. The Sons of Jacob ripped Joseph’s psychedelic covering off his body and he was never to wear it again. Long before Joe becomes God’s man of the hour, the coat comes off and a new suit of clothes are being woven by the Lord to replace his old go-to favorite article of clothing.

When Joe is in Potiphar’s house, there is no technicolor coat. When Joe is in prison, he is wearing the orange jumpsuit like every other inmate. When Joe is recalled to serve in Pharaoh’s Court, there is no resurrection of his boyhood super suit. The Coat of Many Colors was part of the old Joseph and not the new man God had equipped him to be. He didn’t need his old identity anymore. He was now God’s faithful Servant and he adorned himself in the cloak of humble obedience. Jacob’s choice of dressing his son almost killed him. Jehovah’s choice of dressing Joseph saved him and an entire Nation. The Coat of Many Colors might have been flashy but it was also fleshly. It was a part of his past but not necessary for his present and future.

What used to label us is not necessary to define our personality today. The Lord takes our self-righteous duds and declares them as nothing more than filthy rags. Our pride and our need to be noticed dies away so that our devotion and desire to glorify Jesus can come alive. When we open our hearts to the Spirit, we don’t need electric neon substitutes anymore. The colors of God’s love fill us to spill us with acts of life that don’t put ourselves on the pedestal but lifts up the Name of Jesus. When we tell the story of the redeemed Joseph, he is not wearing the wardrobe of his old life but he is dressed in the royal robes of being a child of God.

 I am not what I used to be. I am not what I will be. But I am under construction via the Holy Spirit. My closet looks different than it used to be. The gimmicks and the games I once played to get attention are no longer in my possession. If any man or woman be in Christ, he or she is a new creation. Old things like fancy coats are passed away. Behold, new things are in store and not storage anymore. Are you still depending on the old ways to get a new thing done? Stop it! Though our sins be as scarlet, the grace of God has forgiven us so that we may be as white as snow. And white looks good on those that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. May your wardrobe be that which worships the God who made you and not the humans who dressed you!          






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