My Granny made quilts - not with a sewing machine. She made quilts by hand from scraps of material. When I got married, Granny made Mike and me a double wedding ring quilt. It is very beautiful and special because I know all of the time that went into that quilt. Often times Granny and the ladies in her church would put up a quilting frame in a Sunday school class at her church and they would all work on the quilt. A lot of love went into that quilt. After my second daughter, Ivey, was born Granny started working on another double wedding ring quilt. She said she did not want them to fight over that quilt. She had quilted the rings but not put the quilt together when she died. It always meant a lot to me that Granny wanted both of my girls to have a double wedding ring quilt. She did not want any jealousy! I thought of this story when I heard we were going to start a sermon series on Joseph. I think about his coat that his father gave him and the jealousy it caused.
In Genesis 37, you learn the story of Joseph and his coat. One day, Joseph’s father called him away from his brothers and handed him a gift. Joseph was given the most beautiful coat he had ever seen. His brothers were not as happy about the coat as he was. They were angry and jealous because they thought their father loved him more than them.
The next morning Joseph told his brothers, “I want you to listen to this dream I had last night. We were all in the fields, bundling wheat into sheaves. My sheaf of wheat stood straight up. All of your sheaves of wheat bent over as if they were bowing down to mine.” The brothers asked, “Do you actually think YOU are going to rule over us and WE are going to bow down to you? You would think Joseph would stop there but no. He continued, “Wait! That is not all! I had another dream. In the second dream, the sun, and the moon and eleven stars bowed down to me!” Now the brothers were even angrier.
While working, the brothers discussed Joseph and the more they talked, the angrier they became. They already knew their father loved Joseph the most and they needed to get rid of him. They threw Joseph in a deep pit until they could decide on a plan. They sold Joseph as a slave and were pleased until they thought of what they would tell their father. Quickly they killed an animal and put some blood on the beautiful coat. When they showed the coat to their father, he thought Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
The Midianite merchants sold strong Joseph to an Egyptian man named Potiphar. He was a captain and knew King Pharaoh well. Joseph never forgot his father’s teachings. He never became angry with his brothers for treating him so badly. He was righteous and honest and loved the Lord very much. The Lord was with Joseph and helped him to become prosperous. Potiphar noticed what a good man Joseph was and made him the ruler of everything in his house.
I think Romans 8:28 comes alive in this story. There are so many lessons to be learned. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Joseph’s father, Jacob, felt life was not worth living because he had lost the one thing that meant the most to him. But while Jacob was crying, God was working all things together for the good of Jacob, Joseph, and his brothers. In the end God used Joseph to save his father and brothers from starvation. God was taking care of Joseph the whole time. The pit Joseph was thrown in was dry so he could not drown. The Midianites knew they could make money on him so they sold him. Joseph ended up in the home of one of the most responsible officers of Pharaoh’s administration. These were not coincidences! God is in full control. Even when we are unaware of it, God is at work. No matter what we are going through, God is at work. Like Joseph, God is placing you where He needs you and giving you the tools to be successful!