by God’s Icon
Growing up as a young child eager to learn from the bible, I grew up perplexed as to why God had allowed a scripture like this to be canonized into the Bible. Not because I found it irrelevant, but rather because I felt it looked like the Lord was “leading them into temptation” or for better words it sounded like God was tempting them using His renowned servant the prophet Jeremiah and also bringing them into His temple where no sin (e.g. lies in this case) was permitted.
How many times have we on the verge of temptations, simply slacked on the instructions of God, for few moments of pleasure, fame et al from this world. Yet this ancient message comes alive several centuries after Jeremiah from the ancient nation of Israel, as a post card from God to a generation that has institutionalized sin and has redefined the words of God according to their own standards of the world (moral relativity).
We have learnt to accept those promises of God that are not stringent, but chosen to rationalize those that make us seem “old school” in our jet age.
It is only needful we have some background as to who the Rechabites are (mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.
Background of the Rechabites.
This family of the Rechabites was an ancient family, for we find the founder of it in the days of Jesse, 2Ki_10:15-16. But some have supposed that it began much earlier, even tracing it to Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law (Jethro the Midianite).
According to this passage, the Rechabites were a branch of the Kenites, i.e., descendants of the Kenite, the father-in-law of Moses (Jdg_1:16), who had gone to Canaan with the Israelites, and dwelt among them, partly in the wilderness on the southern frontier of the tribe of Judah (1Sa_15:6; 1Sa_27:10; 1Sa_30:29), partly at Kadesh in Naphtali (Jdg_4:11, Jdg_4:17; Jdg_5:24). Their ancestor, or father of the tribe, was Rechab, the father of Jonadab, with whom Jehu made a friendly alliance (2Ki_10:15, 2Ki_10:23). Jonadab had laid on them the obligation to live in the special manner mentioned below, in order to keep them in the simplicity of nomad life observed by their fathers, and to preserve them from the corrupting influences connected with a settled life.
They comprised two remarkable precepts: –
(1.) He forbade them to drink wine, according to the law of the Nazarenes.
(2.) He appointed them to dwell in tents, and not to build houses, nor purchase lands, nor rent or occupy either, Jer_35:7. This was an instance of strictness and mortification beyond what the Nazarenes were obliged to. Tents are mean dwellings, so that this would teach them to be humble; they were cold dwellings, so that this would teach them to be hardy and not to indulge the body; they were movable dwellings, so that this would teach them not to think of settling or taking root anywhere in this world. They must dwell in tents all their days. They must from the beginning thus accustom themselves to endure hardness, and then it would be no difficulty to them, no, not under the decays of old age.
Let’s closely examine the scripture and see what gems God has deposited therein for us.
Jer 35:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
Jer 35:2 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.
Points to Note: The Lord sends His servant the prophet to bring the House of the Rechabites into His house (the house of the LORD) and offer them wine to drink inside one of the chambers. (A good reason to fall into temptation one might say, after all it was God’s orchestration).
Jer 35:3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites;
Jer 35:4 And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door:
Jer 35:5 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.
Points to Note: Jeremiah placed before them choice wine filled in various pots, pleasant to the eyes, “delicious” to the taste buds,
Jer 35:6 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 forever:
Points to Note: Despite the fact that Jonadab who was the Son of Rechab was dead, both he and his father, the descendants yet held unto the commandment taught and handed down the generations. In unison they all knew and recited the “core values” for which their family was unique.
Jer 35:7 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.
Points to Note: Beyond the wine which was offered to them and which they refused, they mentioned other core values for which their family was bounded by and by which they lived by.
Jer 35:8 Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters;
Jer 35:9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
Jer 35:10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.
Points to Note: It is recorded that they kept all the commandments passed down the generations of the Rechabites, not only the children of the Rechabites, but they also taught it to their wives (who had come from other families) and altogether they lived by the dictates of those values.
Jer 35:11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.
Jer 35:12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
Jer 35:13 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.
Points to Note: God tells Jeremiah to go meet the men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem to ask of them why they wouldn’t receive His instructions nor hearken to His words, if mere mortals who had even been deceased had such strong influence on their descendants, how much more the Immortal Invisible and only wise God?
Jer 35:14 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.
Jer 35:15 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.
Points to Note: God who is forever alive keeps speaking through His servants and other media, yet the people despised His commandments and corrections.
Jer 35:16 Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me:
Jer 35:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.
Points to Note: God pronounces the reward of evil upon all those who have heard but despised Him and His words using the honor of the Rechabites to their father’s commandment as a template to show His wrath upon those who do not reverence Him.
Jer 35:18 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:
Jer 35:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.
Points to Note: God pronounces the reward of keeping the commandments of their fathers and teaching the same to their wives and children upon all the Rechabites and also preserved their posterity forever.
In Summary: Thus saith the Lord – Jonadab shall not want a man to stand before me forever – His name shall ever be honorable, and his posterity shall enjoy my continual protection, and there shall never be found a time in which men of his spirit shall be wanting as patterns of genuine simplicity, filial obedience, purity of manners, and deadness to the world.
True Christians may be considered as the genuine successors of these ancient Rechabites; and some suppose that the Essenes, in our Lord’s time, were literally their descendants and that these were they who followed our Lord particularly, and became the first converts to the Gospel. If so, the prophecy is literally fulfilled: they shall never want a man to stand before God, to proclaim His salvation, and minister to the edification and salvation of others, as long as the earth shall endure.
Points to Ponder About:
1. Are you a pilgrim upon this earth looking forward to the return of the King who you represent here on earth?
2. Have you been overwhelmed by the “goods” of this present world that you’ve neglected the core values of your Father in Heaven?
3. Are you one who would readily look for an avenue to break the commandments of God and blame it on divine ordination?
4. If in the time of the law when there was no GRACE the children of the Rechabites kept the laws of their fathers (who had been then deceased), why is it so hard for us to keep the laws of Christ who is alive forever more and who has begotten us into the era of Grace?
5. Even after several scatterings of the Jewish people all around the earth and subsequent restoration back to their home land. The children of the Rechabites never lost themselves to the scatterings, they remain till this day in the nation of Israel still keeping the commandments of their father.
1. Lord, Help me relate with you keeping all the core values you’ve instituted in your words
2. Help me to teach even the coming generations the things you’ve deposited in me
3. Help me to in this era of Grace not to misinterpret your directions for me
4. Help me to hold fast unto the end, that I may receive the rewards of Obedience
God bless you.
For more reading on the Law of the Nazarene, please visit: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0406.htm
God’s Icon is the pen name of an ardent God chaser. In a world that has so perverted the truth of God’s word. He is a firm believer that the word of God has no moral relativity nor is it archaic that it isn’t relevant to give answers to the challenges of this present world.