Jeremiah 35:1-19; 1 Timothy 5:1-16; Psalms 89:7-13; Proverbs 20:28-30
OT: “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: “Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them to one of the chambers of the temple of the Lord to offer them a drink of wine.” …But they replied, “We do not drink wine, for Jonadab, son of our ancestor Rechab, commanded, ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. You must not build a house or sow seed or plant a vineyard. Those things are not for you. Rather, you must live in tents your whole life, so you may live a long time on the soil where you stay as a resident alien.’ We have obeyed Jonadab, son of our ancestor Rechab, in all he commanded us. So we haven’t drunk wine our whole life — we, our wives, our sons, and our daughters… Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go, say to the men of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not accept discipline by listening to my words? — this is the Lord’s declaration. The words of Jonadab, son of Rechab, have been carried out. He commanded his descendants not to drink wine, and they have not drunk to this day because they have obeyed their ancestor’s command. But I have spoken to you time and time again, and you have not obeyed me! Time and time again I have sent you all my servants the prophets, proclaiming, “Turn, each one from his evil way, and correct your actions. Stop following other gods to serve them. Live in the land that I gave you and your ancestors.” But you did not pay attention or obey me. Yes, the sons of Jonadab son of Rechab carried out their ancestor’s command he gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.” (Jeremiah 35:1-2, 6-8, 12-16 CSB)
The Rechabites were a nomadic sect of Kenites. The Kenites were not Israelites, but accompanied the Israelites into the Holy Land and dwelt among them. The Kenites were actually descendants of Moses’ father-in-law. The Rechabites, specifically, were descendants of Jonadab, who lived during the time of the Israelite King Jehu (2 Kings 10:15-23). Though the Kenites settled in the cities of Israel, Jonadab instructed his descendants to not settle in cities, but to live as nomadic foreigners and not drink wine or grow vineyards. For over 250 years, the Rechabites honored the word of their ancestor Jonadab.
During Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem, the Rechabites moved into the city walls of Jerusalem for protection. God spoke to Jeremiah and told him to invite the Rechabites into the temple and offer them wine to drink. God had Jeremiah do that, not to tempt the Rechabites, but to provide Jeremiah with an example of what it looks like to honor someone’s word. When the Rechabites refused Jeremiah’s offer of wine, God spoke to Jeremiah and told him to take that example to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Jonadab, who was a mere man, spoke a word once to his descendants, and they honored it for 250 years. God, the great deliverer of Israel and Creator of the World, had spoken words to Israel over and over through His prophets, and they ignored Him every time.
Recently, my church family has been going through a message series about hearing God. One of the primary ways that God speaks to people is through His written word, the cannon of scripture. The written word of God is a culmination of things that God has already said… and continues to say. Many people want to hear God, but they don’t want to honor and obey the words that He has already said. How can we expect to hear God speak to us if we are not willing to honor and obey what He has already said. Often times, Christians will put out money to travel to prophetic conferences or revival events to hopefully get a word from God, but they aren’t willing to read and understand the words that God has already given us in His word. We, as God’s people, need to follow the example of the Rechabites and honor and obey the word of God. Beyond just reading His word, we need to study it, investigate it, interpret it, meditate on it, apply it and obey it. If we honor the words that God has already said, He will continue to speak to us in fresh ways that we can understand.
Prayer: Lord, I thank you for Your word. I thank You for Your written word, and I thank You for the words from Your word that You speak freshly for current circumstances and situations. Help me, as I place my faith in You and Your word, to honor and obey the things that You said and continue to say. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.