Every month in Biblical times had a different meaning and purpose… it was a new prophetic season.
Jews in Biblical times had a special celebration at the beginning of every month, it was a time to put God first and seek direction for the new month. It was called Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month). They came together to praise God, to give their first fruit offerings and to hear what God was saying for the month….to gain direction for the month ahead. They were only able to hear Him by listening to the prophets…..we, however, hear Him face to face. He abides in us and speaks directly to us.
Tammuz is the 4th month of the Hebrew Biblical calendar and the 10th month of the Jewish civil calendar. By looking at these Hebrew months in the Bible, we learn to think like God thinks. Romans 15:4 says For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. Tammuz is a month that teaches us to worship and stay faithful. Each month was associated with a tribe and Tammuz was associated with the tribe of Reuben. By looking at Reuben we learn this month to wait on God and to choose to trust Him.
Reuben was the firstborn son of Jacob and Leah, and as such he was born into a position of great privilege.
In Genesis 49:3,4 Jacob prophesies over Reuben that “he is my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” This was Reuben’s position… firstborn son of Jacob. He was destined to inherit the double portion. He was to be the leader of the tribe as well as the priest of the family. But like his Uncle Esau, Reuben lightly esteemed his birthright…. he acted so disgracefully that he forfeited his birthright – Gen 35:22.
This incident changed the course of his life. The double portion was taken away and given to Joseph. His leadership as a tribe was taken away and given to Judah. His priesthood as a tribe was taken away and given to the tribe of Levi. When Jacob blessed the other sons he pronounced a curse on Reuben – telling him he would not excel.
Why did Reuben do this? As we look at Reuben’s family life, we see that their family had been through a traumatic period…..
- They had fled from Laban who had chased them down and would have killed Jacob if God had not intervened.
- Escaping Laban then they faced a confrontation with Esau who also tried to kill Jacob
- Entering Canaan their sister Dinah was raped at Shechem and two of her brothers massacred all the men of the city in retaliation. Canaanites were outraged.
- Fleeing Shechem, Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died and was buried at “The Oak of Weeping” Then Rachel went into labor and died giving birth to Benjamin.
- Still, they journeyed on until they came to the tower of Eder where they finally stopped.
So the whole family had gone through a time of tremendous upheaval, violence, and loss. They had to just keep moving through all of it. Not until they stopped at the tower of Eder could they even begin to process what they had just gone through!
That’s when Reuben went in and found solace with Bilhah. He wasn’t even thinking about the Blessing that lay ahead in his future…. he wasn’t thinking about all he could lose because of this choice. He simply wanted comfort and he wanted it NOW!
He was desperate for comfort and security and sought them outside of God.
The biblical tower of Eder was built near Hebron as a watchtower that shepherds watched their flocks from. Eder became a symbol of God’s watchfulness over His people. It was a place of refuge. That’s where Reuben went to Bilhah. It was here that he should’ve sought refuge in God. Allowing Abba Father to refresh his soul… a soul that had been through a series of traumatic events. Doing that would have restored his vision and helped him walk out his prophetic destiny.
But instead, he sought out Bilhah. Bilhah means terror or trouble. It also means worn out…. something so worn out that it serves no purpose. Another possible definition means foolish. These definitions sum up for us what Reuben was experiencing when he slept with Bilhah. His action was foolish…Ps 14:1 – a fool says there is no God… a better translation is a fool says in his heart “no God!”. Reuben by yielding to sin was saying no to God… no to His promises, no to His destiny for Reuben, no to trusting God to see him through this terrible time in his life. He was so worn out in life that he ended up losing sight of his purpose in God.
Reuben’s name means “behold a son”. Behold means to see…. see a son! It’s important in this season that we begin to see ourselves as “sons”. Sonship is our destiny that was marked out for us in love by God (Eph 1:5). Having correct vision… seeing ourselves as God sees us, in a position of sonship… will keep us from forfeiting our spiritual inheritance.
God wants to awaken us to the revelation of “Sonship” in our lives in this season.
Psalms 2:7-8 tells us that we are to declare/decree our position as sons. Gal 4:1-7 tells us that it is time to claim our inheritance as sons because we are no longer slaves. And Romans 8:14-17 tells us that as sons & daughters we are endowed with authority in His kingdom. This is a time to displace, to cast off an “orphan spirit” and embrace the spirit of sonship that is ours, with all of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities (John 5:19).
Because of Reuben’s lack of vision, his birthright was forfeit. The wonderful inheritance… the prophetic destiny… God intended for him was lost. Reuben took his eyes off the prize (Phil 3:14). When you lose sight of the goal you are always in danger of not fulfilling your destiny. Wrong vision will cost you your inheritance. The sad thing is his descendants followed in his footsteps… the tribe of Reuben also lost their inheritance.
Next time we’ll look at how Reuben’s descendants followed in his footsteps……