Joseph and the Incredible Coat
(taken from Genesis Chapters 30 - 50)
By Iverna Tompkins
Transcribed by Jane Vaughn
Have you noticed it’s just hard to keep up anymore? The world is simply spinning and we’re spinning with it. Time has been speeded up as well and the question on many of our minds is: What’s happening? The true answer is this: the Kingdom of God is at hand!
That was the first meaty statement Jesus made in His public ministry – “the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mt.4:17). And He prefaced it by saying, “Change your mind” or “Repent” or “Turn around” “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” 2000 years ago? That’s a long time to wait in anticipation for it to happen. But yes, it was more than 2000 years ago – and this world has been turning ever since with more rapidity each season. I honestly believe we’re now spinning into the last days.
Let’s read a portion of scripture and then I’ll actually preach from a different passage. Isn’t that clever? :-) If you’d like to open your Bibles to check on what I say… :-) turn to Second Peter, Chapter 3, The Amplified Bible, verses 10 - 18. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. 11Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved…” Do you believe that? “…what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities? 12While you wait and earnestly long for – expecting and hastening – the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire. 13But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise.”
Let’s focus on that: “according to His promise.” You might even say that aloud – it’s going to be a major factor in your lives from now until Jesus returns. “…according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide. 14So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish, and at peace – in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts.” Aren’t those the things that get you down?
15“And consider that the long-suffering of our Lord, [His slowness in avenging the wrongs and in judging the world] is salvation, [that which conduces to the soul’s safety]; even as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the spiritual insight given him, 16Speaking of this as he does in all of his letters. There are some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand…” This is Peter. I love his candor, don’t you? He basically says, “Paul had a good revelation, but who could understand what he said?” :-)
Verse 17 – “…knowing these things beforehand,” (the things we just read), “you should be on your guard lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition – your own steadfastness [of mind]. 18But grow” – look at it, now – “grow in grace (undeserved favor of God, spiritual strength)… To Him [be] glory… both now and to the day of eternity – forever – Amen.”
Grow in grace. I want to talk to you about “growing – in grace.” I shall to do that by talking about a man whose name was – Joseph. The name means, “add to.” Add to.
One of the things that I think is a problem among believers today is that too many are still in the same place they were when they first met Jesus – or – when they first were baptized in water – or – when they first were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Hello? Now, those all are marvelous and necessary and foundational behavior patterns – salvation and the baptisms. Every believer should be thrilled with their salvation, and every believer should be baptized in water. And I feel, all believers should be baptized in the Holy Spirit because it makes the walk so much brighter. :-)
Everything about the life of Joseph is very much like the life of Jesus. In fact, it is said by some of the older commentators that he is the most perfect likeness to Jesus. Now, if that is true, then I bring your remembrance to Jesus when He said to us, “I am your pattern. Everything I do is what the Father tells Me. Everything I say is what the Father says to say. I am going and I leave this work to you.” (see Jn.14:10-12). Moreover He said, “The Father has given Me all power (Mt.28:18; Jn.3:35, 13:3; 17:2). The Father has all power in heaven and all power in earth, and I am going away (Jn.16:5,7,28) so I will pray the Father, or ask the Father, to send to you that same Spirit” (Jn.14:12,16).
Now, that’s a very positive thing to think about. If all of that is true, and it is, then that means that I (and every believer) must represent Christ on earth by the power of the Holy Spirit as Christ represented the Father on earth (Jn.14:7,9). And if you don’t believe that, then you do not understand anything about the Kingdom!
You may have prayed this in the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven ” (Mt.6:10). You even may have prayed that all your life – with no understanding of what you’re asking. But, you see, He is going to answer that prayer. Not because you prayed it, but because His promise began way back before the beginning of time! It is the plan of God to establish His Kingdom here on earth. Do you believe that? That’s why Jesus said: “When you pray, that’s what you pray” (Mt.6:7-9). Because, when you pray what God plans to do, there is no question that God is going to answer your prayer. Hello?
I’ve had people wonder out loud, “Well, then, why should I ask? If He plans to do it, let Him do it.” We ask in prayer because that gives God the legal, moral right to act. We are inviting Him to come into our earthly existence and establish His plan, His ways, His domain.
Satan would stand nearby and undo every prayer I pray – if he was able to do so. As he tried with Job, he wants to slander us before God (Jb.1:6ff). “Don’t answer her prayers – she, um, didn’t have good thoughts last night.” “Don’t answer her prayers – she’s not victorious.” You see, the devil is the accuser (Rev.12:10) and he usually has some element of truth mixed in with his accusations. That’s how he makes them at all plausible. If it was possible for him to stop our prayers before they could reach heaven, he’d try it. Or, if it was possible for him to accuse God, he’d try that but fail: “You don’t have a right to establish Your Kingdom there – Your Kingdom-people aren’t even asking!” But you see, what happens is, when we pray as Jesus taught us to pray (Mt.6:5-15; Lk.11:1-4), we give that royal, moral and legal right for God to do what His people ask!
Years ago, I had a mental vision of asking God for something specific and my prayer going upwards. I saw people around there in heaven saying, “No-no! Don’t answer her prayer!” But Jesus said, “Yes, Father. I told her that if she asked anything in My Name, You would do it” (Jn.14:13,14; 15:16; 16:23, 24). Now, what I was asking for, I was not ready to receive. I was asking for greater power. I could see all the angels standing around shaking their heads “no.” :-) Then, I saw the gavel of God come down with a big bang, and the statement that came forth from Him was, “Petition granted! – but put a hold on it while we get her ready!”
I tell you about that vision because it was so true. I could not have handled that increased responsibility. If I had any more power at that time in my life, anyone driving slower than I on the freeway would have been bounced off! :-) And maybe a few other things that we will not stretch our imaginations to consider! :-) The truth communicated is that God is methodically and strategically placing His people and getting them personally prepared to fulfill His ultimate plans.
But Joseph. I’m going to presume you know the story. Joseph was a young man that came into existence as the answer to the prayer of his mother, who wanted so desperately to have a child. When he was born, he was the favorite of the father (Gen.37:3). How many of you know that you are the Father’s favorite? We really are! I love it when I read scriptures that say, “Touch not Mine anointed!” (Ps.105:15; 1Chron.16:22). You see, that’s the Father! The Father stands above all, and He sees (and understands) the things that are happening in the world – all of the attempts to stop the Church from praying and crying, “God!” – and all these crazy things that are going into legislative positions for a vote that should never happen. I hear the voice of God rumbling across the world: “Touch not Mine aniointed! And do My prophets no harm!” Now, the world can laugh at that if they will, but that Voice is like the sound of many waters (Rev.1:15; Ezek.43:2), and that IS a Divine threat!
I love to talk about the love of God and His goodness, grace, and mercy, and every good thing the New Testament shows us. ALL of that is absolutely true! But I want you to remember that we sing to Him, over and over, “Holy. Holy. Holy. You’re holy! You’re holy! You’re Holy! You are Holy!” Yes, He is Holy! And He will not endure unholiness – forever.
Thank God when He looks down on the world, He chooses to see Himself. Hellooo. He wants us to mirror Him in such a way that you can’t see me without seeing Him! (Rom.8:29; Eph.5:1,2). Jesus made that possible! He said, “If you come to Me – if you’ll receive Me…” (Jn.1:12,13). And Father said, “If you’ll receive Him, that will be the only last-time judgment I will pronounce” (see Rom.6:10; Heb.7:27b; 9:28; 10:10; 1Pet.3:18). The only sin in the last day – the eternal sin, if you will – the unpardonable sin – is that you or I would not accept God’s provision for us to be like Him (Jn.3:33,36).
You know the story of Joseph (Gen.30-50). The first likeness I see in Joseph is Christ – but today, I want to see him as being the Church. He starts out just by being formed. The Bible says, “Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you. Before you ever knew Me, I knew you. Before you were, I knew you” (Jer.1:5; Ps.139). That’s way beyond my ability to comprehend (Ps.139:6). Is that true for you as well?
The fact that He could plan me (Is.49:1,5; Jer.29:11) – eons before I was planted in a womb to be given life to come forth in this very specific hour – in this generation – that’s so amazing to me! God is pleased that I’m living today – whether you’re pleased or… :-) He is! And He’s also pleased that you’re living today. He planned you as well! So don’t let the enemy say, “You’re useless. You should have. . .” or something like that – because you are the plan of God and a plant of God (Eph.1:4). We are spies! We have eternal knowledge (Col.1:9) – and God formed us and allowed us to be born in this very hour and moment because of what we know!
When Jesus was talking to His disciples, they were just standing there almost stammering, not really certain they understood everything He was saying. Jesus said, “Let me tell you something boys, the prophets of old would have given anything to hear the things you’re hearing right now” (Mt.13:16,17). We need to understand that we are so blessed! We are living in a time that is blessed! There are many pastors today preaching the pure and powerful Word of God. There is great revelation coming to us from the heart of God! More than in previous eras. And if you are a part of a church where your pastor receives that depth of understanding from God and passes it on to you – you are blessed!
The Scripture says, “And God remembered Rachel and hearkened unto her and opened her womb” (Gen.30:22). I could preach on that truth alone! – God has NOT forgotten you! And what’s happening today in the church (the church within the church, if I dare say that) is He is opening the womb – the womb of understanding – things we never knew before – things so great! (Jb.42:3). We are learning, but we’re not learning with the intellect only. We are learning with the Spirit’s input – divine impartation. You know that. It happens to you. When you open the Word now and read some scriptures you’ve memorized before, verses you know so well, and we say it like this: “all of a sudden,” you see things you never saw before! You say, “Oh! That is so rich! God, when did You put that in there!” :-) Yes, it is rich! Because you were formed “for such a time as this” (Est.4:14) and God remembered you and He remembered those who prayed before you.
Rachel conceived and had this son (Gen.30:23) and when she had him, she said, “I’m going to name him, “Added to” (Gen.30:24). That’s what we’re saying when we pray, “Enlarge my coasts (1Chron.4:10; Isa.54:2). Enlarge me, Spirit of God. You take over. Build me upon the things – the truths – the foundations of God. And teach me the things I need to know but don’t.”
You didn’t “just happen” into existence. You were formed – like an artist takes a piece of clay and molds it and waters it (that’s the breathing of the Holy Spirit) and forms it. If you’ve ever watched a sculptor, it’s just an amazing thing. I have watched them and think, “Oh, look. He’s making an – elephant. No, he’s making a – house.” And the person that is doing the sculpting looks at you like, “Aw, you don’t get it!” “Oh, yeah. I see it now. It’s a horse!” And they just keep moving their hands, working the clay, forming their piece of work. I hope this is making sense to you – because that’s exactly what’s happening in your life (Eph.2:10). The Holy Spirit is working with the hand of God to form you into what He planned for you to be, and what He planned for me to be. “Oh, thank You, Lord for that!” The Psalmist said, “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place; when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body.” (Ps.139:15)
Now, maybe you’ve known the Lord for 10 – 20 – 30 years, or perhaps only 2 years or 1 year. Or you were saved just last week. It doesn’t matter. His eyes saw you, and He is working on you with great precision. You don’t know it because when we think of the hands of God molding and bringing forth what He wants, we think of it as happening in times when we feel so surrendered, like during our worship. Hello. “Oh, yes, Lord. Mold me. Make me. Fill me. Use me. This is so good!” He says, “I will, I will. Wait till you get home!” :-)
The forming doesn’t take place in these marvelous moments of worship. The forming takes place outside the doors of the church – where the church walks. We are so favored by Father that He puts a wall of fire about us (Zech.2:5) – His protection – a wall of fire! Have you never been in a situation when you simply saw people back off from you? And you hadn’t done anything but breathe in and out? :-) That’s because He forms you within the path of protection. You may think, “Well, it doesn’t always feel that way to me. It doesn’t always feel like His protection is around me.” I’m not talking about feeling, dear ones. We’re talking eternity.
Joseph. The father, Jacob, says, “Oh, I have all these 11 other sons and they’re just wonderful. But Joseph! He was born to Rachel, my precious Rachel. Oh! Joseph! He is – aw – he’s just so special… I see the potential in him,” – now hear it, Church! – “I see the potential of royalty in this boy!”
When you skip over to the New Testament, what do you read there about royalty? “But ye are a chosen generation!” All these others – they’re okay – but “you are a royal priesthood” (1Pet.2:9). Our Father says, “I see the potential in you – of you ruling and reigning and being successful in your business, in your home, in your life, in your community. I see the potential of people seeing Me as you move. “In Him we – live – and move – and have our being” (Ac.17:28). That’s what happens when we say, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Lk.18:13). Boom! Just like that! He puts you right inside Christ! Hallelujah! In other words, from that moment on, you are wearing – Christ. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.13:14; Gal.3:27). Are you okay? Are you wearing Christ so it is He who is seen on you?
Go to Part 2