Summary: Detailed individial look at each of the twelve tribes of Israel. With focus on the unique name and mission as a tribe fullfilling God’s plan.
Twelve Tribes of Israel (Part 1) Southern: Reuben, Simeon, Gad
“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together,
that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)
Intro: We begin with the genealogy from Adam to Noah…, up until the Great Flood…,
And we skip ahead after the flood to Abraham, and Isaac, about 600 years after the Great Flood to Jacob.
But thy name shall not be called Jacob any more, but shall be called Israel
And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply;
a nation and a company of nations…, and kings shall be of thy descendants…,
And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to thee, and to thy offspring after thee…, will I give the land.
So today we are going to begin a sermon series titled “The Twelve Tribes of Israel.”
When Jacob was old and his health was rapidly failing him…
He called for his sons…, to gather around his bed side… And he began to tell them…, one by one…, a glimpse of what the future would hold for each of his children.
Today we are going to look at three of his sons: Reuben, Simeon, Gad You can see on the map: For the most part the lands of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad are the southern parts of Israel. Of course you will notice that the land of Simeon is inside the circle of the land of Judah… And we will talk later about the tribe of Judah being called the Southern Tribe of Israel.
But for today we are going to begin to look first at the Tribe of Reuben.
I. Tribe of Rueben
"And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said,
Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me." Genesis 29:32
Jacob had cheated his brother, Esau out of his birthright…,
and fled back to the land of Aram…, the land of his ancestors…
and he came to the household of his uncle Laban.
Laban invited him to stay with him and work for him.
The two men discussed the wages Laban would pay Jacob.
And in the course of their negotiations, Jacob agreed to work seven years for the hand of marriage of Laban’s beautiful daughter Rachel.
After working seven years he fully expected to receive the hand of Rachel in marriage.
But on the night of the wedding, Laban tricked Jacob and he ended up with the older daughter, Leah.
I know this sounds strange, but it is the way weddings took place back in those days.
What a shock to awake the next morning and find the plain Leah had been substituted for the gorgeous Rachel.
Jacob.... He bargained for Rachel, not Leah.
His crafty uncle had pulled a fast one and tricked him with Leah.
This was very similar to how Jacob deceived his brother Esau and their Isaac.
Into giving him the blessing of the birthright of inheritance…
Jacob went through seven years of hard labor…,
and all the traditional ceremonies to celebrate his wedding to Rachel.
He waited in the darkened tent for his bride to be delivered to him, and he assumed she was Rachel.
Let’s stop thinking about Jacob for a minute
and try to imagine what it must have been like to have been Leah that next morning.
Leah had hoped for Jacob’s love and she dared to think she could compete with her beautiful sister, But the next morning all the illusions were dashed away…, when Jacob hit the tent roof in the morning.
"But when Jacob woke up in the morning--it was Leah! "What sort of trick is this?" Jacob raged at Laban. "I worked seven years for Rachel. What do you mean by this trickery?"" Genesis 29:25 (NLT)
So Jacob agreed to work seven more years for the marriage hand of Rachel.
BUT after only a week or marriage Laban gave Jacob Rachel, too.
And Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.
(Now don’t forget the name Bilhah because she is also very important in our story of The Twelve Tribes of Israel.)
So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her more than Leah.
So Jacob stayed and worked the additional seven years for Laban
Leah was unloved,
Leah was undesired
Leah was unsought after…
But then we read one of the loveliest verses in this sad story of Leah the unloved one…
"But because Leah was unloved, the LORD let her have a child, while Rachel was childless." Genesis 29:31