1 Chronicles 5

1 Chronicles 5 gives us the genealogies of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.  It begins with Reuben, who was the firstborn son of Jacob.  But you will recall that 1 Chronicles chapter 4 begins the list of Jacob’s sons and Judah comes first even though not the eldest son.  We are reminded why here in this chapter – in a word it was because of sin.  You may recall that back in Genesis 35:22 Reuben had gone and slept with Bilhah who was his father’s concubine.  That was a bad decision and it cost him his birthright as the oldest son.

Over and over in scripture we see the impact of sin.  It costs people much, and in this case, we are reminded again just how much that cost is.  Reuben sacrificed one of the most important things an eldest son had – his birthright.  It was the gift of a father to the son who would carry on the family name and lead the next generation.  But because of a lack of self-control, it was lost in a night on the couch of his father.  We all need to realize the destruction of sin.  Jesus takes the eternality of sin away when we receive Him as our Savior and Lord, but that doesn’t change the price of sin in our lives.

The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manessah did war and prevailed against the Hagrites.  It was a massacre and the Israelites won big.  The secret of their victory is noted here:  “they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him….for many fell, because the war was of God”.  They routed the enemy and took an amazing spoil –of “50,000 of their camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 men alive”.  Not a bad days work.  But the key to victory was walking with God and calling on His name.  It was not about their own ability or strength.

And then the unbelievable happens.  These tribes that had just been handed an amazing victory “broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them”.  Hello people, does this make any sense?  God has just given you a huge win in battle because you call on His name and plead for His power, and in the next few verses we find you totally blow off faith and chase your own desires and passions.  The sins of the father do flow into future generations and we see some of that here.  They had it in their hands and then lost it because they chased other gods rather than the One who gave them everything.  

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