Judah put it on the line. “You can’t continue to delay and deny the situation. I’ll take responsibility for Benjamin’s life. If anything happens to him, I will bear the consequences for the rest of my days. Come on, Dad, let’s cooperate. If we hadn’t delayed this long, we could already have been down there and back twice with food.”
Judah offered to take the blame, even though blaming is a futile exercise. Yelling at darkness doesn’t make it light. But we like to blame. “Dad,” said Judah, “if you want to blame somebody, blame me. But let Benjamin go. Man, we’re dying here.”
Aging Jacob reluctantly gave in. He responded with what I would call tolerance and uncertainty. First he denied and delayed. Then came blame and deceit. And now, finally, tolerance and uncertainty. The old man was one tough nut to crack!
Perhaps his response went something like this: “Oh, all right. If you have to do it, then here’s the procedure I want you to follow.” See his attitude? And then he reverted to another old pattern. He ordered them to take gifts, things that were native to Canaan. If he had lived in the days of Solomon, he would have claimed Proverbs 21:14: “A gift in secret subdues anger, and a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.”
Years before, he had done that with his brother, Esau, and it had worked. It might work with the Egyptian prime minister too.
Jacob could see all kinds of schemes, but he still refused to see God’s hand at work. He could not say, “Look, boys, we don’t know what all this means, but we do know that we’re confused and we need God’s help. Let’s trust God for protection and insight on this. Let’s ask Him to give us direction on what to do.”
Parents, this is an appropriate time for me to urge you to call your families to prayer. “Hey, kids, let’s pray about this before we leave the breakfast table.” Or, “Let’s spend some time Saturday morning asking God for direction in this situation. We don’t know what to do.” Maybe one of your sons or daughters is edging into rebellion. Listen to them. Listen longer than normal. Try hard not to butt in. Admit it when you’re not sure how to respond. Then sit down and pray together, asking for God’s direction.