I can’t even Imagine
the amount of guilt that Reuben,
the oldest of Jacob,
must have carried and felt.
It was his idea
to throw Joseph into the pit,
even though the act
was meant to save Joseph from murder.
The scripture says,
“But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him
out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.”
And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood,
but cast him into this pit
which is in the wilderness,
and do not lay a hand on him” -
that he might deliver him
out of their hands,
and bring him back to his father.”
Reuben left Joseph alone
with nine of his older brothers -
who were supposed to love him,
Instead, they hated him.
Reuben must have thought
Joseph was safe from being murdered,
because the scripture says,
“Then Reuben returned to the pit,
and indeed Joseph was not in the pit;
and he tore his clothes.”
You see, it was Judah, not Reuben
who said to his brothers,
“What profit is there if we kill our brother
and conceal his blood?
Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites,
and let not our hand be upon him,
for he is our brother and our flesh.”
Genesis 37:26-27 l
Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son,
and Judah was Jacob's fourth.
When Reuben found out
what had been done,
he tore his clothes in deep sorrow,
then he said to his brothers
“The lad so not more, as for me,
where shall I go?”
I am the oldest,
and I can identify with Reuben's words.
There is great responsibility
that comes with being born first.
How could he ever hide
from his father's disappointed eyes?
How could he ever escape
the sin that’s been done,
the wrong that’s been caused,
even if he did not directly cause it?
Reuben knew that Jacob loved Joseph,
more than anyone else;
Reuben knew his father
would never get over the loss.
Reuben went along with the lie
that was told.
He must have lived with guilt
every time Jacob mentioned Joseph
and the “fake” animal attack.
The scripture says,
“So they took Joseph’s tunic,
killed a kid of the goats,
and dipped the tunic in the blood”
and took coat to Jacob.
“And he recognized it and said,
“It is my son’s tunic.
A wild beast has devoured him.
Joseph is torn to pieces.”
Genesis 37:31, 33
I can only imagine
that this secret caused Reuben
a ton of guilt.
The weight of it
must have ate him up
from the inside out.
So in Genesis 42,
it doesn’t surprise me one bit,
that Reuben is the one
whom Joseph overheard
“Did I not speak to you, saying,
“Do not sin against the boy’;
and you would not listen?
his blood is now required of us.”
When Joseph heard this,
the scripture says,
“he turned himself away
from them and wept.
Then he returned to them again,
and talked with them.
And he took Simeon from them
and bound him before their eyes.”
I believe that Joseph knew
the heart of Reuben
when he heard his repent,
and because of this he could trust Reuben
to bring Benjamin back.
When Reuben returned to Israel
in the land of Canaan
he spoke to his father, and said,
“Kill my two sons
if I do not bring him back to you;
put him in my hands,
and I will bring him back to you.”
Reuben was willing
to take responsibility for Benjamin,
so much so,
that he was willing to sacrifice his two sons.
I don’t think Reuben could handle
another death or disappointment -
at the cause of his responsible hands.
He had to take Benjamin back to save Simeon.
But Jacob said,
“My son (Benjamin) shall not go down with you,
for his brother (Joseph) is dead,
and he is left alone.”
"If any calamity should befall him along the way
in which you go,
then you would bring down
my gray hair with sorrow to the grave.”
I can only imagine those words
must have pierced Reuben's sorrowful heart.
Those words must have heaped on more guilt.
I wonder how Reuben lived with his sin.
He did not know about Jesus
and the words that He said.
He had never heard Jesus say, like we do,
“Take my yoke upon you and rest in me.”
He had not heard the Psalm of David,
“For as the heavens
are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy
toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed
our transgressions from us.”
must have been
overwhelmed by guilt.
I wonder if God heard his repentant heart.
I wonder if the blood of Jesus
covers the sins of the past,
and all the repentant hearts who adored God?
I wonder if Reuben is saved -
has Reuben been delivered from eternal death?
I Corinthians 15:20-24 says,
“But now Christ is risen from the dead,
and has become the first fruits
of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by man came death,
by Man also came
the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ
all shall be made alive.
But each one in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits,
afterward those who are Christ’s
at His coming.
Then comes the end,
when He delivers the kingdom
to God the Father,
when He puts an end
to all rule and all authority and power.”
Personally, I believe that the blood of Christ
covers all the Children of God -
those present, future and past.
I’m excited to see what happens next.