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Spiritual Growth

Joe’s clothes

It’s been a while since I have posted anything of a spiritual nature. This is because most of my break was spent lying on the sofa or relaxing. But one thing that was wonderful about this summer was being able to spend extended time in the word of God!

I was reading the book of Genesis and it struck me that there is a lot of symbolism in Joseph’s clothing. I’m sure someone somewhere has written about this but it was the first time I noticed it.

One thing that was interesting is how Joe’s clothes parallel what’s happening in his life. So here is what our good man Joe was wearing:

1. A richly ornamented robe (Ge 37:3). Given by his dad, who selected him as his favorite. (Talk about a dysfunctional family.) Another translation says it was a “robe of many colors,” but the actual meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain. This robe ended up being ruined (ripped and soiled with blood) by Joe’s bros when they sold him as a slave.

What it paralleled in Joe’s life: Joe was favored by his dad. His robe represented his elevated status above his brothers. According to one study Bible I read, this robe represented that Joe would be the one who would get the double portion of the inheritance, a perk usually reserved for the firstborn.

2. A cloak (Ge 39:13). Well, actually, he was wearing this cloak for a while, until he was rudely uncloaked by Potiphar’s wife. This was because Joe wisely fled from temptation.

What it paralleled in Joe’s life: Joe’s running away and leaving his cloak behind showed that he had decided to leave behind the worldly pleasures and pursue integrity.

3. Prison garb (Ge 41:14). Joe had been wearing this clothing for a long time, but an audience with the top dog of Egypt required something a little more presentable. So Joe changed out of his prison clothing.

What it paralleled in Joe’s life: The change of clothing represented a change in Joe’s life — leaving his marked past.

4. Robes of fine linen and gold chain (Ge 41:42). Pharoah’s pretty pleased with Joe’s dream interpretation and decides to make him #2 in the whole kingdom. Quite an advancement from the dregs of the prison!

What it paralleled in Joe’s life: Joe was now at the top of the nation. His fine clothing represented his honored status.

So besides being an analysis of Joe’s life and his wardrobe, why is this all so interesting?

Because Joe’s clothes also show our spiritual journey in Christ!

1. Ornamented robe. Just like this robe was a representation of Jacob’s favor towards his son Joe, God created us and chose us to be his children. He favored us and blessed us with his unconditional love that is greater than we can even understand. And just like the robe was ruined, so we have fallen through sin — separated from the perfect relationship God wants to have with us.

2. Discarded cloak. Joe made a decision to leave his cloak behind. Like him, we have a choice whether we will turn from the temptations and offering of this life and pursue righteousness.

3. Changing out of prison garb. When we accept Christ, we are lifted out of the slavery and prison of sin into freedom.

4. Robes of fine linen. Because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are clothed with the clean robes of God’s forgiveness, which washes away our sin. (Rev 7:14)

Soooo cool to see all these truths in the Bible!

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