3. a. “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, the first sign of my strength,
excelling in honor, excelling in power.
4 Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel,
for you went up onto your father’s bed,
onto my couch and defiled it.” Genesis 49:3-4
b. Matthew 6:22-24 Reuben chose to follow his own desire rather than adhering to God’s ways. He cannot follow two masters – God or lust of the flesh.
James 1:6-8 These verses talk about the instability of a double-minded and unbelieving person – blown and tossed about in the waves.
c. Was Reuben still unrepentant? Did he continue to be ruled by his flesh? We see so many other examples of personal failures and the grace and forgiveness that followed. Abraham lied about his wife to protect himself, David and Bathsheba, Jacob deceived his brother, etc.
UPDATE: In the lecture, the speaker pointed out that in Jacob’s blessing for Judah, there was no mention of his former transgressions. Judah openly confessed his sin toward Tamar and turned his life around. He offered his own life in place of the life of Benjamin. Unlike Reuben, Judah’s repentance changed everything. Reuben’s sin with Jacob’s concubine may have been more about rebelling against his father and seeking power than about sex. Apparently he did not demonstrate a change of heart and attitude.
4. a. Their descendants will be scattered and dispersed in Israel.
b. Because Shechem raped their sister, Dinah, Simeon and Levi took revenge by killing every male in the city three days after they were circumcised.
c. (Challenge) God set apart the tribe of Levi to be the ones who would transport the ark of the covenant, stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name. I never put these two things together before – the curse that turned into a blessing for their tribe and a blessing to the Lord. They also provided spiritual leadership to the nation. Well, that was the plan. Eli and sons were a mess. But still, it shows the Lord’s grace and mercy, even in their failures.
d. This should be marked personal, for sure. Suffering is primarily the guilt, regret and humiliation that comes a result of failure. The accuser of the brethren seizes every remembrance as an opportunity to derail my journey. By turning those moments into praise and worship, the accuser’s efforts are derailed. I am ever thankful His mercies are new every morning. UPDATE: One’s own failures and the suffering that results can be turned into a testimony.