The Five Coats of Joseph – Part 1


Today, I’m going to begin a series on a gentleman we know so well. If you were an ancient Egyptian, you’ll probably call him Zaphenath-Paneah on account of his legendary intelligence. The name probably means “the man to whom mysteries are revealed” or “revealer of secrets”. Scholars are not certain. He is however, simply known in Christian folklore as Joseph. His story is the stuff of Sunday School legend. Who has never heard of Joseph and the coat of many colours! Funny how we’ve reduced the young man’s life to a coat! That coat would prove prophetic in his life.

Joseph was a victim of vicious envy. His jacket produced envy. The lesson seems simple: As we buy coats of many colours for our children, we ought to teach them how to cope with envy. As we encourage our children to excel, we must pray against the viciousness of envy in their lives. Blessedness has consequences. The Bible says so. And in order to make that simple lesson unmistakable, God inserted it into the very first verse of the very first psalm. The Amplified translation of Psalm 1:1 reads: “BLESSED (Happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly.” (Psalm 1:1 AMP). You cannot have the blessing without the envy. It is a conceptual impossibility.

Now, if we dig further we will discover that the hatred of Joseph’s half brothers came from a very deep place. We have always assumed it was solely because of his dreams that his brothers hated him, but the Bible says the dreams only made them hate him the more. Which means they already hated him. The people who led the assault on Joseph were the children of women unloved by their husband. When a marriage is loveless it becomes utilitarian and generates its own bitterness. And many times the children of an unloved woman will pick up the gauntlet and take the battle into the family. Jacob was married to four women – Leah, Rachel and two concubines. Leah wasn’t loved, only Rachel was loved. The concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah, weren’t loved either. They were mere special purpose vehicles, slaves. Loveless marriages produce consequences. If you’re single, I’ll advise you don’t go into a loveless marriage.

We’ve always thought that Joseph’s destiny was hinged on that one jacket – the coat of many colours. But that’s not so. Joseph’s destiny was actually hinged on five changes of apparel and I’ll soon show you. The man who started the saga was actually Laban, a most unscrupulous man if e’er was one. Laban loved money. The Bible says that when he saw the ring & the bracelets Eliezer gave Rebekah he ran to meet the man. He would go on to defraud his young nephew several times in business. If you recall, Jacob had a business deal with him. Without God, Jacob would have been shirtless after 14 years of service to Laban. Indeed the man would have killed him. He was conscienceless. In forcing Jacob to marry Leah, Laban started the family drama. He forced Jacob to become a polygamist. Jacob’s father was a monogamist and all available evidence suggests he was set on that course. Then came Laban. The love of his life was Rachel. It was that love for Rachel that made Jacob give Joseph the coat of many colours. When Jacob gave Joseph the coat of many colours he was in effect telling the other children- “This is my real first son, and I never loved your mothers.” The contest in effect was between Reuben the firstborn and Joseph the first son. Reuben couldn’t control his brothers. They didn’t respect his opinion much. It’s why they sold off Joseph behind his back. They didn’t consult him. This first born / first son issue was a generational rehash of the historical contest between Ishmael and Isaac. And just like Ishmael persecuted Isaac, the confederacy led by Reuben persecuted Joseph.

Here’s the simple moral from Joseph’s first coat: Your mark of distinction will always be the agency of your persecution. Joseph is a typology of Jesus Christ. Just as Joseph was betrayed by his brethren so was Jesus betrayed by his brethren. Just as Joseph was buried in a waterless hole in the desert, so was Jesus buried in a tomb in the desert. And just as Joseph was sold for 20 shekels of silver, so was Jesus sold for 30 pieces of silver. Now, something interesting happened when Joseph was sold. The brothers killed a goat and dipped his garment in the blood of the animal as evidence of his death to their father. They didn’t know it, but in doing that, they were making a sacrificial atonement for his life. The life of that goat became a substitute for the life of Joseph. He could have died in the long march through the desert to Egypt; Potiphar could have executed him, and he could have died in prison. But the blood of that goat kept availing for him just as the blood of Jesus avails for us. Jesus our sacrificial Lamb has been slain for us.

If you will like to give your life to Christ, please say this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus Christ died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Please forgive me. I accept him today as my Lord and my Saviour. And I receive your grace that will cause me to succeed. Amen! THE FIVE COATS OF JOSEPH continues next week.

#Illuminare – THE FIVE COATS OF JOSEPH Part 2

© Leke Alder |