GoOd MoRnInG sIbLiNgS!
Today we read Jeremiah 35-37!
We begin today with YHWH holding up a group of people as an example of obedience so lets start by giving a little background on them.
Who were the Rechabites?
This was a sect of people, similar to the Nazarites (which we will discuss more once we get into later parts of the Bible). They had taken a vow not to drink any wine and in addition to this had committed to a nomadic lifestyle, which some evidence suggests was motivated by their desire to live more like the ancient Israelites under the direction of Moses.
They saw what had happened time and again once the Israelites settled among a land and integrated into the culture there – they went after other Gods and ended up blaspheming YHWH, turning away from Him. And so, they chose a lifestyle in an attempt to take them back to a purer time in which they had to depend on YHWH and stay closer as a group, disconnected from any particular homeland or society. They went to great lengths to remain set apart. It is of note to realize that although they remained set apart and as such, separated from most of the Israelites who had chosen to live in cities, they were vigilant allies to Israel.
We even see them helping rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah 3:14.
So while they did not agree with the direction Israel had gone, they still understood them to be YHWH’s special people and as such took care to side with them. They did not live among Israel, but they stood beside them whenever the need arose.
Their dedication and faithfulness to this lifestyle and to their vows received recognition by YHWH Himself – WOW!
In chapter 35 we see YHWH tell Jeremiah to go and invite the Rechabites to the temple and once they were settled within, to offer them wine. They, of course, refuse. We see in Jeremiah 35:14 that the Father uses this as example, telling Jeremiah to go and tell Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
“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
Here are these upstanding Believers who have been given a command by their father to avoid wine, which is not against Scripture or YHWH’s laws, and they have been vigilant and faithful in keeping it. How much more weight should we give to YHWH’s commands! But the people did not. It hurts my heart to imagine how things like this grieve our Father’s heart.
Note: Jeremiah knew full well who the Rechabites were and of their vows not to drink wine. He was not doing this to tempt them.
Rather, YHWH had him do this to demonstrate their obedience before those who lived in persistent disobedience.
Something to think on: If the Father tells us not to do something and we are brought out in public and asked in a grand fashion to transgress what the Father has clearly told us not to do, what is our response? Because, honestly, this happens on a regular basis and few Believers even notice. Just something to turn over in our minds.
Are we EVER mindful of our Father’s instruction?
How important is it to us?
Is it at the forefront of our minds or is it something that slips into our thoughts from time to time.
How many times each week do we stop and ask “How can I serve my King today?”
Postscript: The Father has put safeguard instructions in His word to help us remember Him, to help us to be mindful of His commandments, and to help us keep our duty to Him at the forefront of our minds so that we will not stray. We’ve already read of several of these. I can think of four right off the top of my head. Your challenge today is to see how many you can come up with.
Jeremiah 34:16 The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have kept the command that their father gave them, but this people has not obeyed me. 17 Therefore, 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, 19 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.”
The Father honored the sons of Jonadab for obeying their father by declaring they will always have a special place of service to Him.
What an honor indeed!!!
A thought: When we profess to be Believers, we are setting an example for others each and every day in how we live our lives, conduct our business, perform our jobs, and interact with our community. We are also setting an example in the privacy of our homes and how we behave among friends, out of the public eye. Our example is either bringing people closer to the Father, causing them to seek Him more fervently – or it is leading people away from Him. There is no in between.
In Jeremiah 36 we see another great act of compassion and mercy when YHWH directs Jeremiah to write all that He has told him up until that point on a scroll in hopes that perhaps if it is written all in one place, the people might see what they have refused to hear until this point.
It is crazy how many ask “How can YHWH punish people?! He is supposed to be a merciful God!”
Oh goodness, the mercy He has shown us knows no bounds. He has tried, and tried, and begged, and pleaded. The creator of the universe has pleaded with us, y’all, and still people turn from Him to chase after other useless gods. When He is finally at the point where it is time to bring the hammer down, grace and mercy have been poured out abundantly like floodwaters onto a parched desert land – but still we persist.
There comes a point where a just God must punish a willfully rebellious people. So don’t ever think that YHWH does not show mercy. For every mercy HE shows, there is an abuse of mercy returned to Him.
Back to our reading- This is the “Aw nah he didn’t Just do that!” part:
We see that Jeremiah sent this scroll to the king on a day of fasting that had been declared by the people, not the king. This is often done in times of distress and crying out to the Father in repentance or for help. We see that the scribes and princes took this word from Jeremiah very seriously, but they also knew it would not be well received by the king so they sent the two of them (Jeremiah and Baruch) into hiding before delivering it to him.
Ricky said they read it and replied “We’re gonna show it to him, but y’all better go hide coz this ain’t gonna go well…”
Jeremiah 36:22-36 is a grim scene, one of those that, if you were watching it in person, the entire room would go quiet in shock and horror at what was taking place. By the king slowly and deliberately cutting the parts of the scroll after each was read and throwing it into the fire, he is not only insulting Jeremiah, the prophet sent by YHWH to warn him, but also YHWH Himself. He is burning the words of the one true God, sent to warn him. This gesture is a mocking one, which demonstrates his own arrogance.
I read this and think “Ahhh naw, you didn’t just do that.” And mentally step aside to make room for the Father to step in.
YHWH had Jeremiah prepare another scroll…
In chapter 37 we see YHWH sending a different warning to the king. Don’t think that you’ll defeat this army because even if you managed to wound every one of them, the wounded men would then set your entire city on fire.
When YHWH turns against you, no amount of human victories, no amount of strength in an army or fortification in a city can offer salvation.
And now we see Jeremiah head out to claim the land he had purchased (in chp 32 I think) and he is then taken prisoner for appearing to defect to the other side. Once imprisoned, this same proud king feels his fear growing and secretly asks Jeremiah “Is there any word from your God?”
In asking in this way it is almost as if he has hope that the Father has a better word for him privately, perhaps he will show some level of mercy on him or have some change of heart.
Yes. You’re going to be delivered to the Babylons.
My Southern translation of this statement: Yup. You fixin’ ta die.
In this situation, it would be easy and tempting for Jeremiah to offer, finally, a bit of good news or something that would please the king, but he remains steadfast in truth. It appears the king recognizes this and perhaps has a bit of respect for Jeremiah for it, but most likely is still seeking some degree of mercy from YHWH, because he agrees to put Jeremiah in better surroundings and orders that he receive bread from the baker daily.
The story continues…
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!