There are people in the Bible we all know and love. Abraham, Moses, David, and so many others. We tell children stories of these people and their heroic acts. However, there are some lesser known people in the Bible that don’t get as much credit as they deserve. They can teach us many things about our own life and faith. Through this study, we will learn who these people were and how God worked through them and how our faith can be made stronger.
The first person we are going to look at is Reuben. Reuben only has a few lines in the story but his lines impact the story movements and ultimately God’s plan. Reuben is one of Jacob’s sons, and the brother of Joseph. In Genesis 37, the rest of Joseph’s brother become infuriated with him and they want to kill him. They intended to kill him and throw him in a cistern, or a deep well. Here is where Reuben comes in. Genesis 37:21-22 says,
“But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.”
Reuben comes to the rescue here, sort of. Instead of killing him and then throwing him in, Reuben uses the guilt trip on his brothers and suggests they just throw him in the cistern to die. Although this seems like a tortured death suggestion, the Bible tells us that Reuben intended to come back later and bring him back. Reuben said what he needed to say to appease his brothers so he could stop their evil plan. This changes the entire outcome of the life of Joseph. Later, Judah suggests they sell Joseph and they do which brings God’s plan for Joseph in action. Without Reuben’s suggestion, Joseph would have died, but God had other plans.
Galatians 6:9-10 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” We should never get tired of doing good, and we should do good to everyone. Reuben stood up for what was right and saved his brother’s life and he had the right intentions behind his words.
However, before all this in Genesis 35, Reuben sinned by sleeping with his father’s concubine. This was a defilement of his father and of God. In this case, Reuben did not do good, especially to his own family. If we heed Paul’s words in Galatians, we need to be kind to everyone, even more to those who are brothers and sisters in Christ.