|@July 28, 2023||ESV (2016)||ESV Prophets Plan 2023|
- The Obedience of the Rechabites
The chapter opens with a word of the LORD given to Jeremiah during the reign of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, to speak to the Rechabites. The house of the Rechabites is largely known from this chapter. Their founder, Jonadab, lived under king Jehu of the northern kingdom and they were devout worshipers of the Lord.
In Jer. 35:2, Jeremiah is told to bring the Rechabites to the house of the Lord and offer them wine. He fulfills this command in Jer. 35:3-5, taking Jaazaniah, the son of Jeremiah, and his brothers along to the “chamber of the sons of Hanan” (Jer. 35:4) and offers them wine.
However, in Jer. 35:6-7, the Rechabites respond to the offer by saying that they had been given a command by their father, Rechab, to not 1) drink wine, 2) build a house, 3) sow seed, 4) plant or have a vineyard. Instead they are live in tents all their days in the land where they sojourn (Jer. 35:7).
In Jer. 35:8-10, the Rechabites demonstrate themselves to be obedient to their father’s command, living in tents and having no vineyard or field. As nomads, they were forced to live in Jerusalem by the advance of the Chaldeans. Through this, they maintained their true pilgrim character and exemplified faithful obedience.
This is immediately contrasted in the following verses (Jer. 35:12-16), where God confronts His people in their listening to His words and receiving His instruction. He told them to turn from their evil ways and not serve other gods, but they did not incline their ear or listen to Him (Jer. 35:15). God’s people failed to obey Him in the way demonstrated by the Rechabites as they kept the command given to them by their father.
In Jer. 35:17, the LORD lays out the consequences of their disobedience; that He will bring upon them their deserving judgment through disaster and that it all shall unfold as He had pronounced it against them.
In the final verses (Jer. 35:18-19), God turns His attention back to the Rechabites and of the blessing He will give them because of their obedience to their father. God will preserve their people, telling them that “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.” (Jer. 35:19)
In this chapter, we see that in loving, Fatherly fashion, God provided an example of obedience through the Rechabites. He not only gave His people command, but also showed them its model fulfillment. Then, by rewarding the Rechabites with His protection, He illustrated the resulting blessing.
However, something else caught my eye in the final verse of the chapter. God said that Jonadab shall “never lack a man” but His sentiment did not end there. Important to see is that God preserved them in order “to stand before me.” It was not an empty protection, but one directed toward Himself His blessing had intent and meaning; a purposeful preservation.
This is crucial for us to see as modern-day Christ-followers. God saves and provides for us for the purpose of standing before Him and representing Him to the world. Through the work of the Spirit, this posture will draw the focus of others onto Him, giving them reason to wonder about the object of our attention. How amazing it is to be given this great power and honor!
Scripture Journal Notes
Commentaries & Resources Used
- ESV Study Bible. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008)
- Faithlife Study Bible (Lexham Press, 2016)
- Believer’s Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, 2016)
- CSB Study Bible Notes (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017)
- Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Guardian Press, 1976)
- The Bible: A Reader’s Guide (Sterling Publishing, 2011)
- The Infographic Bible (Zondervan, 2018)
- ESV Digital Scripture Journal (Crossway, 2019)