1 Chronicles 5:1—Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
In Israel, the firstborn had a double the inheritance of the other heirs. They also had the responsibilities to lead the clan and provide for the women without husbands. They represented the clan and made decisions as the head. Reuben was born into this position, but yielding to temptation caused him to lose it. It was a passing momentary pleasure, one large spot on the life of an otherwise faithful son. He was the one that wanted to spare Joseph. There are times when we face difficult temptations and wonder if there is some way we can indulge without having to pay a price. Sin always takes you further than you want to go and costs you more than you want to pay. God’s grace may free you from some of the consequences or He may not. Sin always exaggerates the potential pleasure as it blinds you to the potential price you will end up paying. On the other hand, Joseph stood strong in the face of temptation. He refused to yield to the enticements of Potiphar’s wife. It was one step on his way to a position he only dreamed of. Obedience to God reaped rewards he could not have seen except by the revelation of God. If that were not enough, he was given the position and rights of firstborn. Obedience takes the faithful where they can be most effective and rewards them beyond their dreams. Seems like a simple choice to make, but we need God’s help to make it on a daily basis.