“And he [Jacob] said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” (Gen. 42:38)
Jacob’s decision not to allow his sons to take their brother Benjamin back down to Egypt with them was based on at least two false premises: 1) His loss of Joseph and Simeon was not working against him (v. 36); 2) Joseph was not dead, as he supposed. For that reason, his refusal to listen to any other viable argument was simply postponing the inevitable. Common sense said that when they ran out of food again, the boys were going to have to return to Egypt. And because the ruler of Egypt (Joseph, incognito) had promised to see them again only if Benjamin was with them, Jacob’s refusal could only be temporary. And it is frustrating to us with hindsight to realize that not only was his refusal postponing the inevitable; it was postponing great blessing. The sooner he sent the boys and Benjamin on their way, the sooner he would find out that his beloved Joseph was alive and well!”
But don’t we do the same thing ourselves sometimes? It’s easy to feel the things happening to us are all working against us, when all the time they are gentle shoves toward the will of God. So often, we too can accumulate a passel of false premises from past hurts (like Jacob), poor advice, unfounded rumors, or even warped theology. We forget that although we are not forced to live “under the circumstances,” we should never be foolish enough to ignore them. God closes doors as well as opens them (Acts 16:6), and choices that seem unavoidable—as well as unpromising—can, in reality, be the gateway to the future. Ask Ruth!
The sooner we accept the will of God, the sooner we will see for ourselves that our Heavenly Joseph is alive and well…ready and waiting to take care of us.