Read I Chronicles 3 -- 5
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 smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day (I Chronicles 4:42-43). What a contrast this is to the more powerful 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 . . . to this day (5:1,25-26). The tribe of Simeon survived in the land to this day (4:43) while the tribe of Reuben was exiled from the land to this day (5:26). Of these tribes, Simeon retained its God-given territory; but Reuben, lost everything.
Instead of crossing the Jordan and possessing the land that God had chosen for them, 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 to worship Him (Numbers 32). They chose what they believed would bring them greater material success rather than what God had chosen.
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, prophesied that Reuben was: Unstable as water, you shall 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 (I 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 (5:25).
Eventually the Reubenites were conquered and taken as slaves to Assyria. They are an example of some today 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 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 enough, strong enough, or good enough. Everything God wants us to be or to do He does make possible. 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 (I Chronicles 3:1-24). Christ, the Son of God, came through the line of David (Luke 3:23-31).
Word Studies: 3:9 concubine means slave woman that legally became a secondary wife; 4:10 coast means border territory ; 4:40 fat means rich, good; 5:11 over against means across from.
Government Official: Rep. Frank LoBiondo (NJ) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WTRM-FM, Winchester, VA · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Mrs. Robert Miller · Country: Guinea-Bissau (1 million) on the western coast of Africa · Major languages: Portuguese and Criolo · Religious freedom · 51% animist; 42% Muslim; 6% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for national revival, for righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34).
Optional Reading: Romans 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 1:13