Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.
I. The Colorful Robe
Imagine how Joseph must have felt when he received the colorful robe from his father Jacob. He must have felt extremely loved. Honored. Cherished. Set apart as special. The robe’s colors were certainly as colorful as his dreams. At night, amidst the snores of everyone, God gave him glimpses of his destiny in the form of dreams. Authority would be Joseph’s to wield. In fact, one day, his brothers–symbolized by sheaves and stars in these dreams— would bow down to him.
But just as his heart soared with hope, Joseph experienced a shattering of his dreams. Joseph’s notions of leadership and honor were silenced as his brothers threw him into a well and then sold him to Egypt as a slave. His brothers ripped the precious ornamental robe, dipping it in blood and making it appear that he was eaten by a wild animal.
II. The Servant’s Cloak
But while in Egypt, Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. Potiphar covered Joseph’s bare back with a servant’s cloak. It wasn’t anything like the cloak of dreams or honor that his father had once given him, but at least he had something on his back. Joseph proved so responsible that Potiphar didn’t have to worry about anything.
But was that all there was to his dreams? Was that the pinnacle for his leadership—to be in charge of the household affairs of Potiphar?
One day, when no one else was at home, Potiphar’s wife tried to force Joseph to bed with her. Joseph ran away and in the process, left his cloak in the hands of the evil woman. Without robe and without cloak, Joseph was thrust into prison; a false accusation being the basis of his crime.
And here we can ask ourselves: Where were the dreams of Joseph now? Where was honor in prison, in being branded as a criminal—worse than any slave?
When we are at our lowest point, where do our dreams go?
III. The Invisible Robe
But God, the Giver of dreams, honor, and leadership had not forgotten this man, Joseph. There would be a robe again for him; this time royal robes. However, they were still invisible to the eye in the same way that prison bars forced Joseph to be unseen by free society.
While in prison, Joseph so distinguished himself that he was put in-charge of everyone there. There was no mistaking the leadership anointing he had on his life. The warden didn’t have anything to worry about. When Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker found themselves thrown behind bars, Joseph interpreted their dreams. His interpretations rang true and were fulfilled— the baker was put to death, while the cupbearer was brought back to Pharaoh’s court.
We would think that this would mean an automatic shift in Joseph’s state behind bars; that perhaps God would move NOW to free this man and enrobe him with visibility. But no. It would be two full years before the cupbearer would remember Joseph.
IV. The Royal Robes
When Pharaoh had a puzzling dream, the cupbearer told Pharaoh about the man Joseph who had interpreted his dream. Pharaoh called for him and listened to the wisdom and insight of God flowing through this “criminal.” It was clear that there was no one else in Egypt like this fine fellow. Pharaoh mused, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” Pharaoh made Joseph ruler of Egypt, lower only to him. And yes, the inevitable happened: he had Joseph dressed in the royal robes of fine linen.
I can imagine all of Heaven smiling at the new, visible, kingly robes of Joseph. Here were God’s dreams unraveling before Joseph’s very eyes. People had always tried to take his robe or cloak away, but this time, God was going to make sure it stayed on Joseph’s back!
As you reflect on this story, it is good to ask some questions: Has my Father in Heaven given me a colorful robe, too? Has my robe been torn apart because of the journey I have been in? Are my dreams at the stage of death? Do I know that I wear royal robes from Heaven—even if I may be at the current stage of invisibility?
The process for Joseph was painful, but the Lord still had the master blueprint of Joseph’s destiny in His hands. Even if people tried to destroy Joseph’s life, the Lord still had a robe to give to this man—and He has a robe to give to you, too.
Our Father in Heaven is the Giver of dreams, honor, and authority. No matter how difficult our journey is in life, the King’s royal robe of destiny is one that He loves to bestow on His sons and daughters.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.