Bible Reading: Jeremiah 35 – 37; John 20
”The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me.” Jeremiah 35:14 ESV
Making a contrast between the obedience of Israel to God’s word and those of the Rechabites, a religious sect to the command of their fore fathers, God detailed Jeremiah to gather these people to the house of the LORD and offer them wine, which he did. In keeping with the command of their fathers, the Rechabites refused the wine that was presented to them saying, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.”
This was a simple test by God to demonstrate the unwillingness of His people to obey His word, while showing the complete obedience of the Rechabites in keeping to the command of their fathers. “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words? declares the LORD. The command that Jonadab the son of Rechab gave to his sons, to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently, but you have not listened to me.”
For the simple act of disobedience of Israel despite God’s numerous attempts through the prophets to get them to Him in repentance, they are to be punished while honouring the Rechabites. ”…thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing upon Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, I have called to them and they have not answered. But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”
While God is more than willing to bless all obedience to His word, we should also recognize that God’s punishment for disobedience is severe. Knowing this, therefore, we should abstain from all disobedience that we may not be found to be lacking in our service to Him.
Though the road may be tough and narrow; teach me to obey You.