Thursday, April 26, 2007
This is about three coats. When I think of coats I think of Joseph. His father loved him and gave him a special coat – a garment that was so ornate you could see Joseph coming from a distance.
The second coat he received was from Potiphar as a slave. We know this only because when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of adultery, her supposed proof was the coat she tore from him as he fled the room.
Pharaoh himself gave Joseph’s third coat to him after Joseph told him the interpretation to the dreams.
The first coat represented a person’s natural family foundation. Like Joseph, it can be a reminder of both blessings and hurts. But this coat has to be laid down to move to the next season of life. Laying down this coat moves us beyond focus on self. It is letting go of what we were in the eyes of family and friends to be where we are in the present to minister to others.
The second coat was his move into service. This coat will teach you humility and faithfulness. It can be a challenging experience, but also a joyful and fulfilling one.
Many times this period is what defines us. We can begin to believe that who we are is based on what we do. (If we have failed to lay down the first coat, this one will never quite fit. We will struggle with issues relating to the past which are now conflicting with the present. Joseph could never have successfully served Potiphar if he carried the old cloak of hatred toward his brothers, anger at going from an honored position to a position of servitude.)
Once again God will call us to lay this second coat down. You will be challenged to look at who you are without your ministry, your vocation, your calling. You will feel more vulnerable than you have ever felt in your life.
God wants us to lay down each coat as it’s season finishes – so that He can bring us to His ultimate purpose: to bringing healing to the nations and lead others to see the heart of God.
When Joseph faced his brothers he looked into their eyes and saw their fear. His reassurance to them is simply stated in Gen 45:8. “You did not send me here. God sent me.” Why wasn’t he filled with hatred and revenge? Laying down each coat from his heart helped him to see God’s plan.
There is another story of three coats.
The first was swaddling clothes wrapped on a baby in a manger, beginning the foundation of a human family for the son of the living God.
The second coat was a seamless robe that marked a three-year ministry of service to others. It represented a special position of power and honor. They saw the value of the position but missed the treasure of the person. When Christ laid down this coat, he faced the challenge of acknowledging the heart doesn’t naturally move in the direction of the heart of God – it takes an act of our will. “Nevertheless, not MY will but thine be done.”
The last coat given to Christ is described in Zachariah 3. The name Joshua is Jesus in the Greek. Here in its entirety is the passage:
"Then the angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua (Jesus) the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel's right hand, accusing Joshua of many things. And the Lord said to Satan, 'I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem - I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.' Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood as he stood before the Angel of the Lord. Then the Angel said to the others standing there, 'Remove his filthy clothing.' And turning to Joshua he said, 'See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.' Then I (Zechariah) said, "Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?" So they gave him one. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Joshua and said, 'The Lord of Hosts declares: If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will
put you in charge of my Temple, to keep it holy; and I will let you walk in and out of my presence with these angels. Listen to me, O Joshua the High Priest, and all you other priests, you are illustrations of the good things to come. Don't you see" -
Joshua represents my servant The Branch whom I will send. He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside, and I will engrave this inscription on it seven times: I WILL REMOVE THE SINS OF THIS LAND IN A SINGLE DAY. And after that, the Lord of Hosts declares, you will live in peace and prosperity and each of you will own a home of your own where you can invite your neighbors." (TLB).
This was Jesus’ third coat. The third coat which brought healing to the nations and continues to show others the very heart of God.
Where are you? Are you hanging onto a coat God is asking you to lay down? Are you trying to layer coats to avoid releasing a past season of your life? Do you define yourself by what you do or who God says you are? Are you willing to trust Him to bring you to a place where He can use you to bring healing to the nations and lead others to see the heart of God?