Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.”
—Genesis 42:38

In Genesis 42, Joseph’s brothers explained to their father that they had to leave Simeon behind and the only way to get him back was to return to Egypt and bring Benjamin. Jacob responded, “You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and you would take Benjamin” (Genesis 42:36). Jacob was saying, “Boys, 22 years ago, you lost Joseph. Then you go to Egypt and leave Simeon behind. And now you want another brother, Benjamin, to lose as well? Are you out of your minds?”

Jacob was rebelling against the governor’s requirement. That is one reason people refuse to come to God–out of pride. Jacob refused to meet the governor’s requirement. Many people today refuse, out of pride, to meet God’s requirement to come to Him.

Now Jacob was supposed to be the spiritual leader of his family. But not once do we find Jacob saying, “Boys, think about these unusual circumstances. God must be up to something.” But God wasn’t through with Jacob. Genesis 43:2 says, “It came about when they had finished eating the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’” The brothers reminded Jacob there was only one way to go and that was with Benjamin. Jacob cried out, “Why did you treat me so badly by telling the man whether you still had another brother?” One way to tell if God is working in somebody is if they react with irrational anger. They are feeling God’s pressure in their life just like Jacob did.

Now Judah becomes the spiritual leader. He said to his father, “Send the lad with me . . . I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him” (vv. 8–9). He is offering to take responsibility for Benjamin’s safety. Judah is a picture of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 7:22 says that Jesus Christ is our guarantee of eternal life. Jesus Christ said to God, “I will take the blame. I will take the responsibility for their sins.”

Finally, Jacob said, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present” (v. 11). That’s a picture of how some people try to approach God. They say, “Okay, I’ll trust that Jesus died for my sins. But I need to add to what You have done for me. I’ll add some religious ritual and give money to the church.” But God says, “It is faith alone in Christ that saves.” Only when our hands are empty can God give us His gift of salvation. Jacob’s problem was he tried to approach God in his own way. He’s a portrait of pride, a picture of why some people refuse to receive God’s grace.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Come and Dine!” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.