SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Reuben (verse 1) was the firstborn son of Jacob, so he should have been listed first and had the birthright of the first born, but because of his sin he forfeited what should have been his.
- In verse 2, the "ruler for the nation" from the descendants of Judah was David (who was the ruler of the Israelite nation) and, later, Jesus (who is the ruler of a spiritual nation).
- The armies (verses 18-22) succeeded not because of their skill, but because they cried out to God and depended on Him.
- The exile mentioned in verse 22 is the exile of the northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C. Those who were exiled to Assyria never returned to their homeland. You can read about this exile in 2 Kings 15:29 - 17:41.
- Reuben traded his birthright (much more inheritance, more respect and influence) for a brief moment of sexual pleasure (verse 1). His sin of incest had far-reaching effects and is listed here for the world to see. The Bible says that the pleasure of our sins will be quick and fading, that our sins has greater consequences than we realize, and that it will be exposed (see Luke 12:2 and Ephesians 5:13).
- The "mighty warriors and leaders" (verse 24) developed great fighting and leadership skills, but they failed at the most important thing - faithfulness to God (see verse 25). We can get caught up in things that seem important (like improving our work and life skills) but neglect and fail at the most important thing - loving, worshipping, and living in obedience to God.
- Where in your life are you trading long lasting blessing for the temporary, fading pleasure of sin? Is that really a trade you want to keep making?
- Where in your life are you investing time and energy into a good thing, but because of it you are neglecting investing time and energy into the most important thing? Is that really a trade you want to make?