Everyonehas heard of Abraham. He is often referred to as “the father of ourfaith.” Now Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had a sonnamed Jacob (who was also named Israel). And Jacob had a son namedReuben, who was his firstborn. But Reuben was a rebel. Reuben was sorebellious that he defiled his father’s bed by having a sexualrelationship with his concubine.
came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben wentand lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard ofit.” (Genesis 35:22)
for this, Reuben came under a justifiedcurse. I say, “justified,” because the Bible says that
curse without cause does not alight” (Proverbs 26:2b).
this is the curse that Reuben came under, which was pronounced byJacob himself:
you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength,Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water,you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’sbed; Then you defiled it–he went up to my couch.” (Genesis 49:3-4)
becomes evident by reading the Scriptures that these words were notjust words spoken rashly by a man, but were, in fact, spoken underthe inspiration of God, who moved Jacob to say them. It is in thissame passage where Jacob also says, concerning his fourth son Judah,
scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff frombetween his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be theobedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)
Jacob speaks of either Reuben or Judah in this passage (or any of hisother sons), he is not only speaking of them, but of theirdescendants. We know this because of the context of the passage.
principle applies to our lives, as well. The principle is that if wehonor and obey God, we will be blessed. But if we dishonor anddisobey God, we will be cursed. This principle is found in the TenCommandments.
shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourselfan idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earthbeneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship themor serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visitingthe iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and thefourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindnessto thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”(Exodus 20:3-6)
these passages, we can see that blessings or curses that arejustifiably pronouncedover you and I today on account of our obedience or disobedience toGod’s will can, and do, affect manypeople. In fact, it’s not so much the blessings or curses that arepronounced that leadto blessings or curses in our lives. It’s the things that we do.These bring about an automatic blessing or curse.
us pray and strive to be fully obedient to God’s calling on ourlives, so that blessingsmight follow, and not curses!
name was also Israel, for so he had been named by a “man” whowrestled with him.
said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you havestriven with God and with men and have prevailed.'” (Genesis32:28b)
was this man? In Jacob’s own words,
have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”(Genesis 32:30b)
also agrees that God can become a man (Isaiah 9:6). And in the earlychapters of Genesis, we also read that God walked as a man with Adamand Eve (Genesis 3:8). So whether in the Old Testament or New, theidea of God becoming a man is not foreign. By reading the Bible, wecan find out who this “man” is. He is none other than the LordJesus Christ, who said,
who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b)
Abraham was born, I am” (John 8:58b)
is very clear that sleeping with your father’s concubine is an actof rebellion. So, then, Reuben (who was Jacob’s firstborn son)sinned, and he sinned in a very great way. We can see that, as aresult of it, he was cursed by being prevented from receiving theblessings of the firstborn. He missed out on the Messiah comingthrough his own line as well as many other blessings.
a similar manner, Jacob’s next two sons, Simeon and Levi, were alsocursed because they, too, did a very displeasing thing. They actedviolently towards an entire city by taking revenge and killing allthe men in that city (named Shechem) when, in fact, only one personwas to blame for the injustice done against their sister Dinah, whohad been raped. For this, they, too, were prevented from receivingthe full blessing that could have been passed down to them.
then, the blessing of the firstborn fell to Judah. And Jesus Christcame through the line of Judah. Now just imagine what would havehappened if Reuben had not sinned in this way. He would have retainedthe blessing of the firstborn and, it would appear logical to assumethat, Jesus Christ would have come through Reuben, instead of Judah.
Judah found himself in the midst of a very difficult situation oneday (angry and jealous brothers were in his midst, and some wanted tokill their brother Joseph), Judah responded by saying,
profit is it for us to kill our brother and cover up his blood?”(Genesis 37:26b)
this way, Joseph’s life was spared. But this is not the onlyaccount of Judah wanting to protect one of his brothers. In yetanother passage, we read of a very detailed account in which Judahand his brothers were in Egypt, contending with Joseph himself, whohas been elevated to second highest in the land under Pharaoh. NowJoseph had been sold into slavery to some Egyptians, and that is allhis brothers knew. In the process, they deceived their own father bytelling him that Joseph had been killed. And yet it was Judah was whoresponsible for ensuring that Joseph remained alive.
is now many years later, and Judah and his brothers do not know thatthey are in the presence of their own brother Joseph. Upon seeing hisbrothers, Joseph decides to be cunning (and is certainly in the placewhere he has the power to do that). In longing to be with his ownyounger brother Benjamin, he secretly has a silver cup belonging tohimself put into Benjamin’s sack. Then, he has his servants “find”the “stolen” cup as his brothers are going back to their ownland. His brothers are hauled back into Joseph’s presence, andJoseph says that the one with whom the cup was found must remain inEgypt as his slave. This puts his brothers in a tight situation, andit is Judah that steps up to the plate to defend his brotherBenjamin.
Judah approached him, and said, ‘Oh my lord, may your servantplease speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry withyour servant; for you are equal to Pharaoh.'” (Genesis 44:18)
the story goes on to show that Judah then offers himselfinstead of his brother Benjamin so that Benjamin may return with hisother brothers. And why does Judah even do this? In order to sparethe life of his own father, because he knows that the life of hisfather is tied up with Benjamin, since Benjamin was his last son byRachel, whom he loved second to Joseph, whom Jacob thought was dead.So what type of picture do we have here of this man named Judah?
was certainly not perfect. Earlier, he had had a sexual relationshipwith a prostitute who turned out to be his own daughter-in-law Tamar(Genesis 38:1-30). And, in a burst of self-righteous indignation,when it was discovered that his daughter-in-law was pregnant (and hehimself did not know he was the father of the twins in her womb), hesaid,
her out and let her be burned!” (Genesis 38:24)
Judah was not perfect. And Tamar probably wouldhave been burned, too, had she not been given a “security deposit”by Judah himself the day he visited her along the side of the road(she had been disguised and he did not know it was her).
no question that Judah was not perfect, and he made some impassioneddecisions sometimes. But we get a greaterpicture of Judah by knowing the whole story. And the picture we getis of a leader who, though imperfect as he was, was willing to givehimself up for the sake of others. For he said to Joseph,
therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the lad a slaveto my lord, and let the lad go up with his brothers.” (Genesis44:33)
this not sound a lot like the Lord Jesus Christ, who willingly gaveHimself up for us? Jesus said,
am the good shepherd … and I lay down My life for the sheep.”(John 10:14-15)
is not Jesus. But in Scripture, we call Judah a “type” of Jesus,inasmuch as he reflects the characteristics of Jesus. You, too, canbe a “type” of Jesus, as you seek to live your life for Him.
job of a Christian is to reflect the image of Christ. We are “littlegods”, and not “big Gods” (of whom there is only one God).Christians therefore have the right to call themselves “sons ofGod” because they are submitted to God (having received Him asSavior and Lord) and seek to do His will. However, when Jesus calledHimself the “Son of God” (singular), it meant a slightlydifferent thing. It meant that He was making Himself out to be equalwith God. That is why we read,
Jews answered Him, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but forblasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to beGod.'” (John 10:33)
cleverly played on their words, and brought them to the veryScripture in the Old Testament that demonstrated to them that theycould all become “sons of God,” if they were willing.
answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOUARE GODS’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came(and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom theFather sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the worksof My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do notbelieve Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understandthat the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”‘ (John 10:34-38)
is a remarkable passage that has been twisted by some to mean that wecan all become “gods” like Jesus. No! Jesus is THE Son of God(using the definite article). There is only ONE who is THE Son ofGod. He never was a “mere man” like the Mormons would have youbelieve. Rather, He always existed from eternity past, as Micah theprophet points out:
as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans ofJudah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. Hisgoings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” (Micah5:2)
John says the same thing, too.
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Wordwas God.” (John 1:1)
is this “Word?” He is none other than Jesus Christ. (John1:14-18)
was not Perfect
(or Israel, as he isalso called) was not perfect. And there are none who are perfect. TheBible makes this very clear.
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
know that no one is righteous except God alone. We also know that nomatter how imperfect Jacob may have been, that there was no excusefor Reuben’s sin against him. As a result, Reuben was cursed anddid not receive the blessing that he should have received.
can imagine that Reuben had a longing to know the love of his father.But instead of surrendering his life to the Greater Father (God) whohad the power to make everything work out in his life, he committedan act of rebellion. This is a sad indictment on the human race,which has decided to go their own way, in disobedience to God.
do not all have the same opportunities in life, but no matter whatopportunities that are presented, and no matter what challenges wemay face, we can decide to either exalt ourselves and receive a curseor humble ourselves and receive a blessing (often undoing curses, aswell).
Today, make a decision to follow God fully. By doing so, you will position yourself to receive blessings, and not curses. Because God is a redeeming God, He can also take any curses that you have been subject to in the past, and turn them around for His own glory, and your own good (Romans 8:28).
So trust Him today, for He really is the perfect Father, and knows how to care for you fully.