Genesis 37:31-35 (v31) And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood.
(v32) And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found; know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
(v33) And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him. Joseph is
without doubt rent in pieces.
(v34) And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son
(v35) And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be
comforted, and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his
father wept for him.
Our Scripture reading takes place soon after Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery. Most of us know the events which took place prior to his being sold. They had thrown him into a pit and had considered killing him, but Judah, one of the brothers, came up with the idea of selling him instead to a traveling band of merchants. But they had to concoct a story to tell Jacob, their father. And so they killed a kid of the goats, dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood, showed it to their father, and let him draw his own conclusion.
There are times in our Christian walk when the adversary of our souls waves a “bloody coat” in our faces. A “bloody coat” represents a negative circumstance or situation. And he taunts us by saying things to our minds like, “See, your son is hopelessly hooked on drugs; what are you going to do now?” Or, “Look at your daughter into prostitution; your prayers didn’t do any good.” Or, “How are you going to pay your bills? They’re going to turn your lights off and put you on the street. This is what you get for tithing.” Or, “You’re past usefulness; your days of ministry are long over. God has no more use for you.” Things like these and more the devil waves in our faces.
Jacob was quick to believe the report of the bloody coat. This is not meant to criticize him; if someone could have given him a word from the Lord, perhaps his reaction might have been different. “Listen, Jacob, pay no attention to that bloody coat. Your boy is alive and well, and God is going to use him to deliver you and your family one day. You may not understand it now, but just keep on trusting God, and you will see His hand in all this.” But he did not have a word from the Lord to stabilize him, to keep his spiritual feet on solid ground. All that he had was that bloody coat staring him in the face. At that moment all his hopes and aspirations for Joseph died. “Joseph is dead,” he lamented, and a part of Jacob died as well. His response was, “I will go to my grave mourning for my son.” He would not be consoled, and all his family tried to do could not bring him out of his depression. And for twenty long years he believed the report of the bloody coat.
Friend, has the enemy of your soul been waving a “bloody coat” in your face? A “bloody coat” of debilitating illness? “There’s nothing more the doctors can do, so now you’re going to die.” A “bloody coat” of financial distress? “You’re not going to be able to pay your bills. You’re about to lose everything.” A “bloody coat” of marital strife? “Your husband doesn’t love you anymore; he doesn’t find you attractive. He’s starting to stray.” “Your wife wants to leave you for someone else.” A “bloody coat” of past sins? “How could God ever use you? You were one of the biggest whore mongers there was.” A “bloody coat” of lies concerning your Father’s love for you? “God is just too busy to care about your problem.”
“Lord, who has believed our report?”, the prophet Isaiah asked. And that is the question we must answer, especially those who have had to endure the “bloody coats”. Whose report are you going to believe? You can believe the report of the bloody coat and conclude there is no hope, no use in praying, no use in trusting God. Jacob saw Joseph’s bloody coat and concluded that Joseph was dead. “I will go down to my grave mourning.” You can choose to believe the reports of the bloody coats in your life, but if you do you will also “go down”. Your spiritual, emotional, even physical health will “go down”. Your faith will “go down”. Your joy will “go down”. And if you can believe one bloody coat, it becomes easier to believe the second one, and the third one, and so on. Eventually you will lose all your spiritual keenness, until you are just someone who lives by feelings.
Or you can look beyond the “bloody coat” and choose to believe the report of the Lord. One word from the Lord is all you need to overcome all the bloody coats the devil would try to throw in your face. “Devil, it doesn’t matter what you tell me about my son or daughter; you can wave that bloody coat in my face and tell me it’s all over. But I choose to believe the report of the Lord, and I choose to believe that all my household will be saved. That all my children will be taught of the Lord, and great will be the peace of my children. You’ve been waving that bloody coat in my face and telling me that my marriage is over. But I choose to believe that with God all things are possible. You’ve been waving that bloody coat in my face and telling me that this sickness is unto death. But I choose to believe that I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord. You’ve been telling me that I have passed the point of usefulness in the kingdom of God, that my ministry is nothing more than ‘dry bones’. But I choose to believe the report of the Lord, that God still has a work for me to do in His kingdom.”
Am I saying that the bloody coats of life are not real? That we just pretend they don’t exist? That we just paste a smile on our faces and act like everything is fine when in reality we feel burdened down? Of course not. Pretending that everything is fine never makes the problem go away. What I am saying is this: we need to make a conscious decision to cast all our cares upon Him and trust Him completely with our problems. Commit yourself to pray and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Don’t make decisions while you are frustrated, afraid, or angry because they will usually be the wrong ones. Resist all efforts to “help” God out; just be obedient to whatever He tells you to do. And then stand still and see the delivering power of the Lord on your behalf.
Getting back to Jacob, as he looked at his son’s coat, the coat he had made with his own hands. That coat represented all the hopes and dreams he had for Joseph. Now he looks at it all bloodied and torn. Jacob had poured himself into that coat. We pour ourselves into our children, hoping that they will turn out to be men and women of God, productive members of society. Or we pour ourselves into our marriages. Or we pour ourselves into our careers. Or we pour ourselves into our ministries. We all have hopes and dreams. But what do we do when all those hopes are seemingly dashed against the rocks of life? Earlier I mentioned that when Jacob saw the bloody coat all his dreams for Joseph died. What he didn’t know was that God’s dream for Joseph was already being set in motion. Jacob may have thought to himself, “Joseph will never wear this coat again.” But if someone had been there to give him a word from the Lord.... “That’s right, Jacob, he will never wear this coat again. The Lord is preparing him to wear a better coat, a kingly robe.”
What am I saying through all this? God may allow our dreams to be laid by the wayside, so His dream for us will come to fruition. And His dream for us is our destiny. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord. Thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).
So let the enemy wave those bloody coats in our faces. We will not fear because our hope is in the Lord. And we will trust His “expected end” for us.