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Bible Pathways 05/12/2002

May 12

Read 1 Chronicles 3 -- 5

In Today's Reading:

Descendants of David, Solomon, Judah, Simeon, Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (east).

Verses for Today:

Jabez was more honorable than his brethren. . . . Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil. . . . God granted him that which he requested (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).

God directed the writer to compare the small tribes of Simeon that chose to live in the Promised Land to the much larger and more powerful, yet unfaithful, tribe of Reuben, who chose not to settle in the Promised Land. Five hundred men (from the tribe of Simeon), went to Mount Seir. . . . And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day (1 Chronicles 4:42-43). What a contrast this is to the more numerous sons of Reuben (who). . . . transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And . . . God . . . stirred up the . . . King of Assyria . . . and he carried them away, even the Reubenites (5:1,25-26). The tribe of Simeon survived in the land (4:43) while the tribe of Reuben was exiled from the land (5:26). Simeon retained its God-given territory, but Reuben lost everything.

The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh chose to live in the fertile lands outside the Promised Land on the eastern side of the Jordan, even though it was far from the Tabernacle, the only place God had chosen for His people to worship Him (Numbers 32). They decided they would gain greater material success than they would living where God had chosen for them.

Jacob's prophecy regarding Reuben truly came to pass. By birthright, the descendants of the firstborn son should have had preeminence over all the other tribes. But Jacob had prophesied that Reuben was unstable as water, [and would] not excel (Genesis 49:3-4). Water is a good illustration because it naturally flows to the lowest possible level. Water is also unstable in that it can be driven by the winds as well as evaporate with the heat.

The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh seemed at first to have good intentions for they cried (out) to God (1 Chronicles 5:20). But their instability became obvious as time passed, for they accepted, then participated in, the worship of the people of the land (see 5:25).

Eventually the Reubenites, along with Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, were conquered and taken as slaves to Assyria. They are an example of some "would be Christians" who become so involved in the things of the world that insufficient time is left for serving the Lord and for reading His Word. These people consider the plan of God for their lives less important than their own plans for satisfying personal ambitions and pleasures. The person whom God can use must be loyal to Him. We need not fear that we are not talented, strong enough, or good enough. Everything God wants us to be or to do He makes possible as we yield to His will and guidance. Reuben is an example of the New Testament warning: He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:6-8).

Christ Revealed:

Through the genealogy of David (1 Chronicles 3). Christ the Son of God was also called the Son of David. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David (Matthew 1:1; Luke 3:23-38; see also Romans 1:3).

Word Studies:

3:9 concubine = slave woman that legally became a secondary wife; 4:10 coast = border ; 4:40 fat = rich, good; 5:11 over against = across from.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ) · Pray for your Pastor · Country: Dominica (65,000) in the British West Indies · Major languages: English and French patois · Religious freedom · 75% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and call upon the Lord with assurance that He will answer if you pray with a godly spirit free from sin (Isaiah 58:9-11).

Optional Reading: Romans 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 3:16

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