September 5, 2023
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph...”
Never miss an episode when you
subscribe & turn on notifications for YouTube!
“Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed 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 the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s…“ 1 Chronicles 5:1-3 (NKJV)
Today’s chapter focuses our attention to the Biblical ideas of “Birthright” and “Blessing.” Biblical birthright is the right bestowed to the firstborn male to lead the family spiritually. (That spiritual leadership is primarily after the father has passed on.) Furthermore, the paternal “father” was not the sole determiner of birthright; it was also determined by the mother. In the Bible, we first see the concept of that father/mother conveyance of birthright in Genesis 21.
“But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.’” Genesis 21:9-10 (ESV) (See also Romans 9:6-8)
While the birthright is conveyed through very specific terms, it is also transferable to another child if the firstborn son refuses to follow God and be a spiritual leader.
“Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field exhausted. He said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted.’ That is why he was also named Edom. Jacob replied, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ ‘Look,’ said Esau, ‘I’m about to die, so what good is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him. Then Jacob gave bread and lentil stew to Esau; he ate, drank, got up, and went away. So Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:29-34 (HCSB)
Blessing is different from Birthright. Blessing is the byproduct of leading spiritually. The Blessing naturally follows when a person answers the call to spiritually lead.
“But he replied, ‘Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.’ So he said, ‘Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me twice now. He took my birthright, and look, now he has taken my blessing.’ Then he asked, ‘Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?’” Genesis 27:35-36 (HCSB)
While Jacob used deceptive measures to secure the Blessing, he suffered because of how he acquired it. Peaceful Blessing did not come until Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (Messiah) and was blessed by Him. Jacob’s decision to become singularly focused on living up to the character of the Birthright led to his being blessed. That is 1 Chronicles 5 in a nutshell: When Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh led according to God’s Word, they were blessed. But, their rejection of the Lord (in favor of idolatry) diminished blessing, leading to exile.