Recently, as I was in my Journey through the Bible, I read of the Rechabites in Jeremiah 35. God used them to show Jeremiah the importance of obedience. We can all learn an invaluable lesson in their story.
They were a nomadic clan that had been instructed as to how to live and act. Their obedience to the instruction would provide for their safety and as we see in Jeremiah 35:19 NLT “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’‘ Now that might not sound like much but in further observation, it says volumes about God.
I want to encourage you to read Jeremiah 35 for yourself. When you do, you are going to see clearly how important obedience is to God and how beneficial it can be for you and me.
As you read the text, you will find that God gives Jeremiah instructions regarding an invitation to the Rechabites. It is interesting to note that Jeremiah seems to have no knowledge as to the story of the Rechabites. He is certainly obedient to God to do as he has been instructed and that is an important point to make. There was no instruction as to why God wanted Jeremiah to invite the Rechabites.
Obedience requires faithful observance as instructed. You will see this as the story goes on as the Rechabites were following the instructions given to them over 200 years prior. They kept doing what they had been instructed to do from one generation to the next. There seems to be something about obedience that makes it difficult for any of us to be obedient. We lose perspective or we allow the good times to cloud our vision. We begin to think we can do it on our own because we have lost the perspective that obedience requires follow through.
When Jeremiah offers them the wine God had instructed him to prepare for the Rechabites they are surprised at his offer. The response is that they are offended that Jeremiah would even think to ask them to partake of the wine. Then they go further and explain that not only do they not drink wine but they don't own land, have homes, grow crops. Rather they live in tents and are nomadic in their lifestyle. You see they were obedient to the instructions of the forefather Jehonadab.
The point God was making to Jeremiah was that He had been giving instructions through Jeremiah and other prophets but the people would not listen and be obedient. As you read this, it is sad to see that God's people won't listen to Him but a clan listened to their forefather and did exactly what was required of them.
So what do we come away with from Jeremiah 35? How profound and even earth-changing is what we learn? Honestly, nothing profound and certainly not earth-changing. We come away with the simple fact that obedience requires faithful observance as directed. It is simply doing what we are supposed to do.
Over in 1 Samuel 15, there is an accounting of King Saul and his rejection by God. Let me encourage you to again read that account in God’s Word for yourself. I want to focus though on what Samuel says to Saul about what he has done.
22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
I am finding that God simply wants us to obey Him. The instruction of His Word, the leadership of His Spirit, the example of His Son. There really is nothing hard about it, it simply requires obedience.
In God's Grace, Elbert Nasworthy