Way back in the book of Genesis, Jacob’s younger son, Joseph had an active relationship with either his own dreams or the interpretation of someone else’s dreams. He also had an active relationship with the favor of God on his life, a history of slavery, imprisonment, and royalty. However I would like to spend a few minutes talking about his relationship to the garments he wore. You see the covering over us will identify us. I recently heard the governor of South Dakota say that people will become what they spend their time doing. Our covering will identify our intentions.
Joseph’s story is recorded in the book of Genesis and is the longest continued narrative in the Bible. He began with a favored coat of many colors given to him by his father. It segregated him from his brothers, esteemed and identified him as their supervisor and all of this at the young age of 17. He was stripped of that coat and thrown into a pit and later sold into slavery. His coat was his identifier to his arrogance and had to be stripped from him.
We find the next garment to cover him was placed on him in a prison years later. King David records his suffering with leg and collar irons. Later on, in Genesis 41 and verse 14, those prison clothes were removed from him. The learning tool for us in these coats are that our personal arrogance will enslave us and our bitterness will keep us in prison. These coverings identified Joseph not as the chosen servant that God would use but as to the personal struggles he endured.
Another garment we find identifying Joseph was the one Potiphar’s wife tore from him in a fit of passion. He ran away from the temptation, and she was left holding the evidence that she would fabricate a lie around to destroy Joseph with, and that was, again, his garment. The sheer fact that his master had him imprisoned instead of executed was a testimony to his covering of humility. It was evident that Potiphar believed Joseph more than he believed his wife.
The difference between the death and life of our character is the covering that identifies us. Joseph freely gave up his garment to preserve his integrity and his covering of humility testified to that when being sentenced.
The final garment was given to him not by Pharaoh but by God himself. As the story of Joseph continued, he was able to help place the Pharoah’s conscience at ease by interpreting his dreams, and, in Genesis 41 and verse 42, he receives his garment of royalty. However we must remember that the garment of royalty was never given to rule or lord over others; it was given to feed and save during a famine.
Whether we like it or not, we are in a famine of the word in this day and age, and people are starving and dying all around us. To stand in Christ and represent him with a royal covering means not that we rest and lord over but that we serve and feed. If people are dying and they don’t know why, then it’s our responsibility to give them food, thus saving them in the process. Joseph was able to save his family and his people from certain death. He not only changed their lives but he also clothed them as well. Each one was given a new covering when they left the wasteland of famine for the provision of salvation.
Allow me to invite you to Christpoint Church this Sunday. We will help fit you for a royal garment. Our job is to feed and save. Help us to get this right. We’re open at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., on the square in Sparta. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.