Pastor's wife: Joseph's trust in God resulted in him getting a new robe


A verse in Genesis 41 gave me chills last week when I read it. It just hit different.

In our youth Sunday School class, we have been unpacking, digging in, breaking down, or whatever you want to call it, the story of Joseph. We’ve studied it so much that the guys and girls could take an ACT about it.

They know:

  • Joseph was a favorite son but his brothers despised him.
  • His father made him a beautifully ornamented robe to show his favor.
  • When he was 17, the brothers ripped off his robe, put him in a hole, and then sold him to a caravan of Midianites.
  • In Egypt, he was sold to Potiphar, where he was harassed daily by Potiphar’s wife.
  • He was falsely accused of a crime and put in prison.
  • He was forgotten there by the cupbearer who had also served some time.
  • God was with him.

Pharaoh had troubling dreams. They were weird. Seven fat cows came up out of the river, and then seven skinny cows came up out of the river. The seven skinny cows ate the fat ones but they remained thin and gaunt. Next seven heads of grain, healthy and good, grew on a single stalk. Suddenly seven thin and scorched heads of grain appeared. They swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads.

Pharaoh did what a Pharaoh does when there’s a problem: he consulted his wise men and magicians. They didn’t have a clue. That’s when the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Joseph had interpreted a dream for him while he was incarcerated.

So, Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Oh, and he had a shave and a shower before he went into Pharaoh’s presence. “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it,” he informed Joseph, “but I have heard it said that you can interpret dreams.”

“I cannot do it,” Joseph told Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Stop right there. This is not the “chills” part, but close. Joseph has been brought from the dungeon to the palace. His first words…His. First. Words… pointed to God. Even though he had been enduring hard times, in an awful place, he still trusted in God. It had been years. Years! But he had not given up on the LORD.

Pharaoh shared his disturbing dream. With God’s help, Joseph explained it. God was telling Pharaoh something He was about to do. Seven years of abundance - the fat cows/healthy heads of grain - were coming to the land of Egypt. They would be followed by seven years of famine - the skinny cows/scorched heads of grain. The seven years of famine would be so severe, no one would remember the good years before them.

Joseph encouraged Pharaoh to choose a wise and discerning man to be in charge of the land of Egypt, gathering a fifth of the harvest during the years of abundance. They would store up the food to be used during the years of famine.

Pharaoh was pleased as punch with Joseph’s suggestion. Could they find a more discerning and wise man than the one that stood before them? Absolutely not. Joseph was put in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Only Pharaoh himself would be greater.

Pharaoh took his signet ring and placed it on Joseph’s finger. Then, he put a robe of fine linen on him (Gen. 41:42). THAT is the “chills” part. My mind began to spin. When Joseph slid his arms into the sleeves, was it a déjà vu moment? Did he have a flashback to the beautiful robe his father had given him 13 years earlier? For just a second, did he remember his brothers ripping off the other robe before throwing him into the cistern? So much had happened. Did it all come crashing back in an instant?

With God’s help, he had survived. He had endured. Now in spite of it all, Joseph stood, second in command in all of Egypt.

God had truly been with him and working for his good (Romans 8:28).


Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at