We don’t need to be familiar with the concept of the birthright of the firstborn in order to understand from Biblical history that those who live in opposition to the LORD can lose what would otherwise be rightfully theirs. We need not understand all the battles and locations in 1 Chronicles 5 to understand that the LORD may bring victory to those who trust in Him. Likewise, we can learn from the historical record that those who act treacherously against YHWH and pursue other gods may bring about His wrath, and it may have lasting implications for generations and across a nation. It is not just an impact on a single person who has sinned.
1 Chronicles 5
Genealogy from Reuben
1Now 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. 2Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph), 3the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. 4The sons of Joel were Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, 5Micah his son, Reaiah his son, Baal his son, 6Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away into exile; he was leader of the Reubenites. 7His kinsmen by their families, in the genealogy of their generations, were Jeiel the chief, then Zechariah 8and Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who lived in Aroer, even to Nebo and Baal-meon. 9To the east he settled as far as the entrance of the wilderness from the river Euphrates, because their cattle had increased in the land of Gilead. 10In the days of Saul they made war with the Hagrites, who fell by their hand, so that they occupied their tents throughout all the land east of Gilead.
11Now the sons of Gad lived opposite them in the land of Bashan as far as Salecah. 12Joel was the chief and Shapham the second, then Janai and Shaphat in Bashan. 13Their kinsmen of their fathers’ households were Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia and Eber, seven. 14These were the sons of Abihail, the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz; 15Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, was head of their fathers’ households. 16They lived in Gilead, in Bashan and in its towns, and in all the pasture lands of Sharon, as far as their borders. 17All of these were enrolled in the genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.
18The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, consisting of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle, were 44,760, who went to war. 19They made war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 21They took away their cattle: their 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys; and 100,000 men. 22For many fell slain, because the war was of God. And they settled in their place until the exile.
23Now the sons of the half-tribe of Manasseh lived in the land; from Bashan to Baal-hermon and Senir and Mount Hermon they were numerous. 24These were the heads of their fathers’ households, even Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel, mighty men of valor, famous men, heads of their fathers’ households.
25But they acted treacherously against the God of their fathers and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day.
Think about how your actions may affect how God blesses you, your family, your nation because of your righteousness. Reflect also on how your unrighteousness may impact the same in a very bad way by bringing about YHWH’s wrath and punishment. Truly our relationship with our Creator should be the most central and important things we spend time on to try to get that right. Let us seek Him in study of the Bible, worship, prayer, and rejoicing. Let us bring thanks before Him and take quiet time to listen to what He may wish to tell us. Let us honor Him in how we live.
I invite you to pray with me:
Father, please draw me in to right relationship with You. Help me to focus on You first, above all else. Let me not be distracted by the earthly things around me. Please bring Your blessings upon me, my family, and my nation so that Your name would be glorified. Amen.
Devotion by John in service to Christ
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