Reuben was the first born son of Jacob, later named Israel, Prince with God.
His name means "Behold a Son". In connection with Reuben, we find many types which teach us that as we behold Jesus the Son of God, we receive great things, yet when we look away from the Son, bad things can befall us. Yet let us never forget that even when we look away, He never stops looking at us, loving us, and living through us!
Let us first consider Reuben's origins, starting with drama between his mother Leah and
Leah, the first wife of Jacob, was not Jacob's first choice. He loved Rachel, the younger daughter of his uncle Laban.
The Bible records the stark difference between the two:
"16And Laban had
two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the
younger was Rachel. 17Leah was
tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18And Jacob loved
Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
19And Laban said,
It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to
another man: abide with me. 20And Jacob
served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days,
for the love he had to her." (Genesis 29: 16-20)
Leah was "tender eyed". Her name means "weary" or "tired." Jacob loved Rachel, however, and the seven years he worked seemed like nothing to him because of his love for her.
Yet he received Leah first as his wife, and she was not loved, as Rachel.
Yet the LORD loved her:
"And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel
was barren. 32And 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: 31-32)
When Reuben was born, Leah though that she would get the love of her husband. God does not want us to look to His Son in order to find or to earn the love of others. His love is perfect, and nothing else in the world can compete with His Love, in which we receive all things:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2: 15)
This love gives us consummate victory:
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
that loved us." (Romans 8: 37)
The Apostle John explains the fullness of this love in his First Epistle:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3: 16)
"9In this was
manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten
Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love,
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the
propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 9-10)
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of
judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear
in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that
feareth is not made perfect in love. 19We love him,
because he first loved us." (1 John 4: 17-19)
See the Son, who loves you enough that He gave, and gives, and ever will give Himself for you, and you will not feel the need to do anything to get the love of other people.