Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. (Jeremiah 35:1-2 KJV)
I have read through the Bible more than once. I have read several of the books many times more. I know I have seen the word Rechabites, but did not take time to look it up. It was just another name of another group in the Old Testament. Maybe my eyes glazed over by the time I got there. What was going to happen to Judah was more to the point. Obviously I had forgotten that there are applications for us in God’s word – there’s a good one here.
The Rechabites remind me of the Amish – a chosen way of life, commitment beyond the ordinary. We need the background of the family before we can understand their response:
And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine. But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. (Jeremiah 35:5-7 KJV)
Instead of accepting Jeremiah’s hospitable offer of wine, the Rechabites kindly explained that their ancestor commanded specific commitments. His descendants kept their word. Therein lies the lesson:
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. (Jeremiah 35:13-14 KJV)
Here’s a family fulfilling commitments, it appears for generations, yet Judah will not heed God’s word. He sent many to talk to the people:
I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me. (Jeremiah 35:15 KJV)
Jesus spoke of this, too:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (Matthew 23:29-31 KJV)
How do we listen to men who read God’s word to us? What lessons do we take to heart? What do we understand about our commitment to Him – or our dismissal of Him? How can hearken to His word if we’re not reading it, studying it, speaking to Him about it?