Not Just the Coat

Read: Genesis 37:1-36

And he made him a robe of many colors. (v. 3)

I sang songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat almost 50 years ago when I was in junior high. Although I’d seen the coat of many colors in our family’s Bible storybook, I really learned the story of Joseph and his brothers from singing about it.

If we stick to the text, we see there is more to the story than jealousy over Joseph’s fancy garment. The real problem between Joseph and his brothers came from Joseph’s dreams, or rather from Joseph telling his brothers about his dreams. The idea that little Joseph would be ascendant over his adult brothers was repugnant to them, and they took matters into their own hands.

One character not mentioned in the story is God. Where is God in the midst of the violence done to Joseph? The theological payoff doesn’t come until many years later, when Joseph, now indeed in a position of authority over his brothers, could say to them that what they meant for evil God used for good (Gen. 50:20). God did not directly intervene in the story of Joseph the way God did with Abraham and Jacob. God was more muted, which is more like our experience with God. It takes the eyes of faith to see God working his purpose out over many years in hidden and mysterious ways. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, reflect on how God’s purposes have become known to you.

About the Author

Jeff Munroe

Jeff Munroe is the editor of theReformed Journaland, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.