We all remember Reuben and how he got down and dirty with his step-mom and how Jacob let him believe all his life that he’d gotten away with it, but at the last moment of his life, bam, Jacob snatches Reuben’s birthright from him. If you don’t remember it, you can find it in Genesis 35:32 and again in 39:3-4, but we all can see the consequences of Reuben’s actions right here. Reuben lost it all, but he did get to keep his lineage at least, and the Reubenites made quite an addition to the citizens of The Promised Land. Together with the descendants of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, the Reubenites took a large part of the original territory and then grew so large that they had to defeat a neighboring city to accommodate their expansion. With that defeat, the tribes grew even larger by adding livestock and 100,000 people. Those people may actually have had something to do with the three tribes’ demise. In verse 20, the armies “cried out to God,” but by verse 25, after they had captured the Hagrites, the “tribes were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors. They worshiped the gods of the nations that God had destroyed.” The story of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh reminds us of how volatile answered prayers can be. Sometimes we pray for the big stuff, but we forget to pray about how to handle the big stuff when God makes all our dreams come true.
Writing prompt: out of control
Have you ever had a prayer answered and then later wondered, “Why on Earth did I ever ask for this???” Write about an answered prayer that went haywire, or dive a little deeper into where you think the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh went awry.