Sunday, August 17, 2008

Stand by Me

August 17: Jeremiah 35-37

5 Then I set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine, and cups, and I said to them, “Drink wine.” 6 But they answered, “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. 7 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.’ 8 We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 and not to build houses to dwell in. We have no vineyard or field or seed, 10 but we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done all that Jonadab our father commanded us.

14 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. 15 I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, sending them persistently, saying, ‘Turn now every one of you from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to serve them, and then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to you and your fathers.’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me. 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.

18 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.”
Jeremiah 35:5-10, 14-16 & 18-19

Stand by Me

Take the time to read the entire passage for today's Bible reading; I am only covering the first chapter in this devotional. Jeremiah 36 and 37 cover another very fascinating story of the burning of the scroll by King Jehoikim.

The Rechabites were an unusual people who, like the Kenites (Moses' father-in-law was a Kenite), lived in tents. [Their father, Jonadab aided the Israelite King Jehu in ridding the land of the Baal worship.] What is most interesting is their total obedience of their father's wishes, and that is exactly the illustration that God uses in Jeremiah 35.

God commanded Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites into the house of the Lord and offer them wine to drink, knowing that their father had prohibited drinking wine or building houses and settling in one place. The Rechabites, however, refused the wine, choosing to continue their obedience to their father's wishes.

So, what exactly is the issue here? Are we dealing with a passage that tells us not to drink wine? No, we are not; if you use this passage to support such a view you are totally misrepresenting this passage. The real issue here is obedience.

God continually commanded the people through many prophets to return to Him; Israel would not obey and were subsequently captured by the Syrians. Now, it is Judah's turn! When you read the rest of today's passage, you realize that God beseeched them again and again to repent of their sins and obey Him. Judah, however, followed in the path of Israel by refusing to leave their foreign gods.

The hardest thing to teach our children is obedience? Why is that? You do not have to look very far to find the answer; the hardest thing for we Christians is to obey Christ! What can we do?

Take time out of each day to spend with the Lord; read and meditate upon His Word and then speak to Him. Pray that God will give you the grace to live every moment of your life in obedience to His command, "Stand by Me!"

God Bless You,

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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