“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) Joseph was dead, as he supposed, and 2) everything that was happening to him right now was working against him (v. 36). Neither of these was true. But because of them, he was refusing to listen to any other viable argument, and in any case, was simply postponing the inevitable. Common sense said that when they ran out of food again, the boys would have to return to Egypt. And because the ruler of Egypt (Joseph, incognito) had said he would only see them again if Benjamin were with them, Jacob’s refusal could only be temporary. It’s 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 accumulate an assortment of false premises from past hurts (like Jacob), poor advice, unfounded rumors, or even warped theology. We forget that although we’re 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 wake up and smell the coffee (i.e., accept the will of God for our lives) the sooner we will see for ourselves that our Heavenly Joseph is alive and well…ready and waiting to take care of us. Don’t postpone the blessings; run toward them!