A Short Study of Deuteronomy 33:6

“Let Reuben live and not die.”
(Deuteronomy 33:6)


Jacob is about to pronounce his dying blessings, and what does he say concerning Reuben? Reuben, “unstable as water, that shalt not excel.” (Genesis 49:4)

What has Moses to say concerning this son? “Let Reuben live and not die.”

How many of you are temporarily, unconstituionally, inclined to waver and be unstable? Some are more easily moved than others. God’s grace alone can sustain and keep. But here is Reuben; what is the message concerning him? “Let Reuben live and not die?” Is that sinner, unstable as water, concerning whom it is said, “he shall not excel,” is that sinner, an object of God’s love and mercy, to be shut out because of his sins and faults? There is a gate over which is the name of Reuben? (Revelation 21:12), and he shall enter through that gate into the city. The gate of Reuben in the golden city, Reuben in the Israel of God.

O, poor sinner, feeling your sin, mourning over it, looking alone to Jesus Christ for salvation, God enable you to cease from looking within. You say, “I am so fickle, I am so changeable.” So was Reuben. “I am this, that, and the other; yea, a great deal worse than Reuben”; but we are on the ground of free grace, and over a precious Christ is written the name of Reuben. O you, whose experience, temperament and peculiar pathway as sinners is here described, take heart through grace.

What does the LORD say by Joel? He says, “I will restore the years which the locusts have eaten; the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm.” (Joel 2:25)

“O, my lost years,” say one who has been unstable. “O, my lost years! gone, gone forever!” The LORD says, “I will restore the years which the locusts have eaten; the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm.”

We are to go to heaven on the sole basis of God’s free and sovereign grace. We are to go to heaven, not because of what we are striving or longing to make ourselves, but because over the gate of the city is written the name of Reuben.

“Let Reuben live and not die.”


John E. Hazelton (1853 – 1924)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: