In the hope that we may all begin to see the strength of God’s word to us through the restoration of Joseph, lets look again at the points I have made so far.
I am sure that you know that God is not using this series as some kind of academic exercise or form of entertainment, but rather declaring that we are as Joseph, a restored people. Not just freed from the captivity we knew, but far more- raised up set in honour in God’s sight and part of His wonderful plan to redeem all mankind, for us at LWCC that means
1.How do we then make this connection from Joseph to us.
Through the wonderful thread of God’s Word to us.
Just listen first to the Word and then we will explore it together. We will need to demonstrate the thread of the word visually to help us all
Lets start at the very beginning- It’s a very good place to start!
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves
When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?”
So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor,
have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head.
Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’
The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai
“Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes
Into this thread of God’s word let’s now weave our story of Joseph –first as expressed in Gen 37.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”
And now our verse for today
“He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.”
2. The First Robe
This first robe, the richly ornamented coat is so famous isn’t it; even before the technicolour dreamcoat came along- it played a huge part in popular culture it’s a story like Noah’s ark that all the children know.
But in the long tradition of robes granted as gifts in God’s word, this gift from Jacob is unique-
It is in the eyes of God and the eyes of those around him-
undeserved an unwarranted 'kick in the teeth' to an otherwise loyal and hardworking bunch of sons.
The robe was undeserved because Joseph had done nothing to qualify for it.
And therefore it was resented a daily reminder of injustice and played its part in the story eating into the hearts of previously loyal sons.
The robe was taken from Joseph and He was in a pit and sold- as good as dead. The robe was dipped in blood from a goat a sacrifice.
Jacob as head of the family wore a robe showing his status. He was named Israel by God. What was his response when he saw the robe with the blood dipped?
Yes, he tore His robe.
This was something done by all in authority when they wished to express grief. I have heard it said but have not been able to confirm that the priests of Israel had sections upon them sewn on loosely especially to be torn.
I was reminded that as Jesus became sin for us and died, the veil of the temple (the ‘robe’ of the holy of holies) was torn from top to bottom- a symbol perhaps of God’s response to the death.
What a poignant and wonderful picture of the death and shed blood of Jesus.
2. The second Robe
Lets go now to the second robe Gen 41 v42
“He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.”
The restored Joseph, the saviour of Egypt, having been given his position as second only to Pharaoh
Having been given the practical tool of authority in the ring is now given
A second robe
A new robe- this time of finest linen.-
I have discovered that such robes would have been truly amazing not necessarily in appearance but in comfort- linen as finely woven as silk..
The Egyptians perfected the weaving of linen to a very high level indeed
(and still do)
Along with the gold chain, Joseph is now instantly recognisable by the authority He now carried.
God had achieved by his Holy Spirit a changed life
Again lets be clear here too. By giving Joseph the ring the robe and the chain and as we will see the Egyptian name, pharaoh was bringing him into his own family, adopting him.
This also made it legal for Joseph to hold the position He had.
There is no evidence that this new appointment was resented or plotted against. It was seen as the legitimate use of authority by Pharaoh towards a man who clearly deserved the position.
3. But what does the robe say to us?
We saw that before the fall man was naked and not ashamed, His relationship with God was such that he was not aware of his own status or that of his wife.- His was the perfect relationship without veils without barriers, without status- without robes.
After the fall and with the establishing of Law, God provides His people with tools to help them relate to each other along with leadership and status, all of which was given the extra visual clues of robes.
Robes for priesthood, kingship and status. Throughout the History of Israel and indeed our history
We saw with Esther’s approach to the King she robed herself in her royal robe and that her uncle was robed to show his new found status, Daniel was robed in purple an given a chain of office.
When Jesus wanted to bring a by now cultural symbol of status- the Armani suit, in his picture of the prodigals return- go get the best robe.- the point was clear the heart of a man is what God looks at. It was the prodigals repentance.
At the crucifixion The image was forever destroyed as the King of Kings was stripped of all status and authority reduced to the wearing of a kings robe and a crown of thorns as a joke.
So the robe is a sign of our status in Christ as priests kings and adopted sons and daughters.
It is also a symbol of how generous God is to us and how concerned to give us the best of everything.
This is stuff for every day of our lives. I need to let this word seep into my soul soak in and change me.
Ever since Adam walked in the garden unashamed in his relationship with God- naked exposed before him, God has been looking for a people who’s lives reflected that same openness, that same nakedness before Him.
The world in it’s topsy turvey way will often still acknowledge those qualities by robing those people –giving them status.
God robes His people symbolically as we see in Revelation with white robes.
He calls us in 2 Peter:
"A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
For Joseph, knowing after all the pain and anguish of captivity, that he was now accepted loved honoured, by pharaoh, by the people but most of all by God must have made comparison of the two robes even more stark.
He must have looked back at all the status that he had in his family at its foolishness and pride and thanked God for His grace.
He looked at what God values and found all the shallow prestige that Jacob tried to give to him as rubbish
Paul puts it so well that I have to go back yet again to that passage in
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.(Author: Tim Blake)
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