Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

Giving Up Too Much

Dr. Randy White

“Rueben . . . preeminent in dignity and power.” (Gen 49:3, NASB95)

" Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph)," (1 Chronicles 5:1-2, NASB95)

The beginning of the chronology of 1 Chronicles 5 is the sorrowful report of an unrestrained man.  It is the tale of “what might have been.”

Rueben was the firstborn son of Israel.  Is father, Jacob, described him as “preeminent in dignity and in power.”  Jacob honored Rueben because of his strength and vigor, which reminded him of his own youth.  Jacob, now an old man, called Rueben, “My might and the beginning of my strength,” remembering his days of vitality.  In his prophecy regarding Rueben, however, Jacob also delineates the character of his first-born son, saying that he was “uncontrolled as water,” particularly in the prominent example from Genesis 35 where Rueben defiles his father’s bed.

The firstborn was to receive a double portion of the inheritance, but Rueben only received a single portion. The second portion was given to the sons of Joseph.  Likewise, the preeminence that should have been Reuben’s was given to Judah.

The “uncontrolled as water” spirit of Reuben carried forth from one generation to the next.  Indeed, it was from this tribe that rebellious Korah came, challenging the God-ordained leadership of Moses.  This tribe, too impatient to wait for the Promised Land, convinced Moses to give them their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan, before the tribes had entered Israel.  Later, this tribe almost caused a civil war among the Israelites, barely averting disaster with some quick talk!

If you have discipline issues (uncontrolled as water), you are giving up too much.  The dignity and power that could be yours will be given to others.  You will continually be a package of unmet potential.  Reuben lived for the moment and gave up the future.  Ah, what might have been?

In His Grace,
Dr. Randy White

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