The Rechabites’ Example

Open Your Bible

Jeremiah 35:1-19, Jeremiah 36:1-32, Joel 2:15-17, Luke 16:29-31

The last fire truck just disappeared down our driveway. Our woods have been thoroughly soaked with water and while my kids’ eyes are big, their stories are already even bigger. I can still smell the wet wood steam, and the wind is just as strong as it was thirty minutes ago, when a small bonfire caught the wind and flew across the dead leaves, spreading down the hill in the high winds before I could get it back under control. Everyone and everything is okay, but I can’t help but wonder, Could I have prevented this?

I don’t have a great history with fire. When I was a child, I apparently left one candle burning on one blanket-covered bed and certain responsible adults still see fit to bring it up every Easter. (You’d think I would have learned, right?) But despite all of my past fire-related transgressions, I believe I should be forgiven these mistakes since everything turned out alright in the end.

We are accustomed to think of God’s grace as a “get out jail free” card, one that is indiscriminately available to cover whatever we can dish out. This is the natural bent of the human heart. We don’t really see all that much wrong with how we live, because we live in a culture of self-definition: I decide what is right for me, and no one should judge me for it. But what happens to that logic when we come face to face with a holy God?

We know what God’s Word says. But do we listen? God set before us the example of the Rechabites in contrast to the promiscuous culture of Judah under Jehoiakim’s reign. The Rechabites listened to the words of their ancestor, Jonabab, while Judah wouldn’t even listen to the Word of God. The Rechabites continued in obedience, generation after generation, resulting in God’s assurance that “Jonadab son of Rechab will never fail to have a man to stand before [God] always” (Jeremiah 35:19). Meanwhile, Judah continued on in their rebellion, despite repeated prophetic warning.

The people of Judah had so hardened their hearts that they utterly dismissed the dire warnings of God’s impending judgment—evidenced by the king throwing the warnings into the fire. In the context of this passage, this stubborness is shocking and disturbing. But are we so different?

The truth begins with tough news: Our hearts “are more deceitful than anything else” (Jeremiah 17:9). Acknowledging this fact leads us to the next unsettling truth: We have to deal with a Holy God. What can we do in the face of His righteous judgment? We cannot cure our own hearts, and He cannot abide wickedness, nor will He be deceived or mocked (Galatians 6:7). The hardened heart responds to the gospel like Jehoiakim: with denial and unbelief. Such a heart casts aside every warning, arrogantly dismissing the authority and holiness of God. And “it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

There is only the way of life or the way of death. Our merciful God opens the door to the way of life, even to rebellious Judah: “Perhaps when the house of Judah hears about all the disaster I am planning to bring on them, each one of them will turn from his evil way. Then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin” (Jeremiah 36:3). God not only offers an undeserving and rebellious people the gift of forgiveness, He also graciously offers blessing to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and love to walk in His law (Matthew 5:6). Through His grace, God extends to us a promise not unlike the one He offered to the Rechabites: the ongoing blessings of His covenant.

Do not harden your heart. Receive the grace available to you through Jesus! Turn away from evil. Do not throw His warnings into the fire, but instead live in the goodness of all He has given you. Because of Jesus, God will abundantly pardon, and grant you peace and joy everlasting.

(47) Comments

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47 thoughts on "The Rechabites’ Example"

  1. Hilary V says:

    Father do not let my heart be hardened. Cleanse me. Thank you for your abundant pardon. You are too gracious and kind and merciful.

  2. Melissa Mcronney says:

    This reading is so fitting for the time we are living. Thank You Jesus

  3. Krystyn Carey says:

    Do not harden your heart! ❤️ Give me a soft heart, God! I want to be tender and sensitive to all that you are & all that you do!

  4. Connie says:

    This is beautifully said. Thank you.

  5. Angie says:

    In our text today we have examples of two natures.
    The Rechabites; pure, simple obedience.
    The king, cutting away the scripture because he didn’t like it; defiant disobedience.
    Matthew 7:14 reads, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
    John Wesley said that the way to life everlasting is narrow. Nothing unclean, nothing unholy, no sin can enter. Only the sinner-saved from all his sin, both outward and the inward. Only holiness.
    The holiness of God.
    The holiness of His Word.
    Deserves no less than everything, and nothing.
    Everything; wholly obedient.
    Nothing; no sin, no self. No extras.
    The holiness of God is outside our reach.
    But Jesus…reached aCROSS.
    He is waiting at the narrow way, right now.
    Empty us Lord, sin removed.
    Left with nothing,… and everything.
    Ransomed. Redeemed.
    There is only One Way, Jesus.
    It is what we long for.
    It is what we need.
    Lord God, purify my heart,
    and bring lost souls to You.
    As Charles Spurgeon said, “If the ships of prayer do not come home speedily, it is because they are more heavily freighted with blessing. May it be true today.
    Use this pandemic to weight the ships heavily with souls who have found their way to You.
    Nearer my God to thee.
    Amen. Selah.

  6. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love that God forgives us when we admit our sins. It doesn’t matter how many times we sin, he always forgives.

  7. Haley Z says:

    This whole study keeps revealing how steadfast Jeremiah’s faith and trust in God actually is. He is unwavering and listens to everything God tells him because he knows that He is good. May we all learn to follow God like Jeremiah and follow him endlessly with His love in our hearts.

  8. PAM G WILLIAMS says:

    Katie Kimball, I totally concur with your comments. Before I read the, I had written in my journal that today, I confessed the collective sins of our nation, the blood on our hands of millions of babies, the pride in our accomplishments etc. Help me, Lord, to remember each aspect of our nation’s leadership and people in prayer, that we will humble ourselves in repentance and prayer, especially during this plague of corona virus, which indeed may be a warning to us.

  9. PAM G WILLIAMS says:

    I am weeping as I read of what Jehoiakim, son of the most obedient king, Josiah, did with the scrolls, burning them in the fire–the utter disdain! I pray that I will heed Your Word, Father, and not burn it by my disobedience. Help me to crucify my flesh. Help me to be like the Rechabites. Help me daily to choose life.

  10. Claudia says:

    Oh how I love Jesus!! I am forever thankful for the gift of his love forgiveness. I was raised in a very legalistic church and it wasn’t until adulthood that I learned the true meaning of God’s mercy and grace. Today’s reading solidified to me that God will never not forgive me. When I turn to him with a true repentant heart, he is faithful and just to forgive my every sin. My heart’s desire to please God in all that I do and say. I know there will be times that I will fall short but God will convict me and if I am willing, I will ask for forgiveness and he will forgive.

    1. Camille English Davis says:


  11. Jenna says:

    I went and read the full parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16 for a little more context. It’s a pretty sobering story. It reminds me that “to whom much has been given much is required.” (Luke 12:48). God, in his grace, has revealed His Son to me through His word and His Holy Spirit. I need to take His word seriously and let it shape my life. Praying that God would give me a heart sanctified by His truth and that he would set eternity in my heart.

  12. Avis DeniseGraves says:

    Thank You Lord!

  13. Sarah D. says:

    Hi SRT family, just posting again from yesterday, but prayers appreciated for my sister, her husband, and my niece. Last week they announced that they were pregnant again, but unfortunately yesterday my sister called saying that she had a miscarriage. I remember many of you posting comments that you have experienced this. There are definitely no words that I feel I can say to her besides I’m sorry and I love you. Please pray for comfort,strength, and peace, and that she and her husband would lean into Christ during this time. My brother-in law I don’t think is that strong of a Christian, so please pray that although is must be so hard, that it would bring him to Christ. My sister is a believer, but I just hope this doesn’t hurt her faith…prayer appreciated for them. Love you all.

    1. Ashley P. says:

      Praying for your family, Sarah, that they’d be comforted and drawn to the Lord in this time.

    2. Jen Brewer says:

      Praying as well for comfort and strength and being drawn closer to Jesus. ❤️

  14. Kelcy Pryor says:

    You would think it’s unbelievable how he thought burning the scroll would stop God’s word. His heart is so full with evil that even when he has God’s “get out of jail card” he decides to do his own will. But in today’s times I think we pick and choose what we want to hear for God and what we want to block out. God’s mercy and love is the only way we can follow him and do things by his will instead of ours.

  15. Sharon, Jersey Girl says:

    As I read this passage, the one thing that comes back to me over and over again is the bountiful mercy of God. God never punishes or brings judgement without first giving an opportunity for repentance. He gave Judah opportunity and He gives opportunity, every time we sin. I praise God for 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a Mighty God we serve!

    1. K D says:


  16. Erica Christensen says:

    I am challenged this morning by Joel 2:17- “Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep…” Knowing that this series is leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, and seeing the heart of God revealed in these verses leads me to wonder, why am I not more brokenhearted over the brokenness of the world and my own sin. Oh God, break my heart for those who are separated from you because of their lack of repentance. May I count this as important enough that I approach your altar and weep for the lost.

    1. Lisa James says:

      Erica this struck me today as well. I sorrow for those I love most but felt it in a bigger way today. Please, Lord break my heart for all the lost and nudge and help me to share the gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.

  17. Churchmouse says:

    How many times have I “burned the word of the Lord in the fire”? I haven’t selectively torn pages from my Bible and put a match to it. But I have certainly read the Word and ignored it. I’ve certainly read the Word and rationalized it to suit my will. I’ve certainly read the Word and argued with it. I’ve certainly read the Word and disregarded it’s clear command. I have been as guilty as King Jehoiakim of Judah. What a sobering reminder of the high and holy regard we are to have for the Word of God. What a sobering reminder that He is the King of Kings, sovereign over all, and that I am to be His faithful and dutiful servant. What a sobering reminder that His will always is to trump my own. I pray today for forgiveness and a renewed commitment to follow seriously the One Who gave it all for me, Who paid the price for my sins and loves me still. May I read His Book with the devotion and respect it deserves.

    1. Andrea P says:


  18. Monie Mag says:

    King Jehoiakim’s heart hardened at hearing God’s words and he attempted to destroy God’s word

    1. Monie Mag says:

      Sorry I accidentally hit post before adding that God’s words will stand. “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words shall not pass away” Matt24:35. I’m praying for our country to hear God’s word-the gospel of Jesus- and for hearts to soften and believe.

  19. Claire says:

    Rebecca Faires, your words “We are accustomed to think of God’s grace as a “get out jail free” card, one that is indiscriminately available to cover whatever we can dish out. This is the natural bent of the human heart. We don’t really see all that much wrong with how we live, because we live in a culture of self-definition: I decide what is right for me, and no one should judge me for it. But what happens to that logic when we come face to face with a holy God? We know what God’s Word says. But do we listen?” Hit close to home for me. I have found the older (64) I get the less I listen… I tend to skip portions of scripture thinking – I have read this a million times. But when I do settle I find new lessons especially in the Old Testament since I tend to linger in the New Testament.

    Thank you for the reminder that as our earthly parents taught we need to l listen the first time.

    1. Susan Gonzalez says:

      Yes I was so touched by the eloquent way she put this as the natural bent of the human heart. So many times we hear actions & our disobedience justified under his grace & forgiveness. Reminds me of the verse, “I desire mercy instead of sacrifice” . Which means like you said if we regard Gods commands & his leading in obedience first; we won’t have to sacrifice whatever we do in offering for sin. Sure He is merciful & will forgive us, but at what cost to our heart & relationship with Him in light of His holiness? Good stuff. I have justified a lot in my life the last few years, as I have experienced an uphill climb with much loss & I let life burn out a bright light that His Spirit had lit in me for many years. A little justification & “burning or ignoring his calling can lead us into a dark place of captivity! I am so seeking after Him again with my whole heart. Half hearted leads us down a wider & wider road of captivity to this word! I was so close to God for so many years I would have said, oh I will never struggle with this or that. I’ve grown beyond it! Now I know I must humbly walk clinging to Him everyday. Your whole world can change in a few days. As we are seeing happen in our current world. I am so greatful that He pulled me outta that mirey clay & set my feet on a rock❣️

  20. Rebekah C says:

    It is not enough to attend church and be a good person.

    This is not a religion of works but of relationship.

    If you love your husband, you learn to love the things he loves, even when you don’t get it. The same is with God. We learn to love Him by getting to know Him, through His word. We then learn to love the things He likes by engaging in the things He is doing, and we learn to love His family by caring for them.

    If you do those two things, love God and love people, you will fulfill the law. It’s so simple and not complicated and I wish more christians would get it.

  21. Candy B says:

    Such a reminder to me once again that God’s true desire is not to punish us but for us to turn from our evil ways. Such a great truth and God’s heart revealed today in Jeremiah 36:3 – “Perhaps when the house of Judah hears about all the disaster I am planning to bring on them, each one of them will turn from his evil way. Then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Oh, how much He longs and desires for us to turn so He can forgive us.

  22. LeAnn Schmitt says:

    “Live in the goodness of all he’s given”–his mercy, grace, forgiveness, incomprehensible love, righteousness, His armor, the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord and Father.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:


  23. Katie Kimball says:

    I can’t help but think of what our country has become when reading these chapters in Jeremiah. There is so much idolatry and wickedness in our culture that is seen as completely normal but goes against God’s word. When we try to warn those with hardened hearts, our attempts of sharing the Gospel are pushed aside in the name of acceptance. I pray for our country, that us Christians can share the Gospel with unbelievers and that the Lord would soften their hearts to hear the truth of forgiveness and Jesus.

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:


  24. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    The song from Matt Maher comes to mind for some reason.
    “Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
    Every hour I need You
    My one defense, my righteousness
    Oh God, how I need You.”

    May we fully rely on Him today.

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Agreed, Tricia! Love this song and joining with you in that prayer.

    2. Jane K says:

      Listening now. Thanks for the suggestion!

  25. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Thank you for your faithfulness Lord, midst the chaos. Lord, during this time, keep me strong and steadfast like the Recabites. May I proclaim Your word and stand up even in the midst of what the world is going through.

    1. Paula Fausett says:


  26. Arina says:

    A few months ago I heard a sermon about this passage. So here is some background on the Rechabites. Their forefather Jonadab, son of Rechab, is mentioned in 2 Kings 10. He lived during the reign of king Ahab and Jezebel. He makes rules for his posterity so that they will not go follow the Baal or other idols. They cannot drink wine or live in houses, so that they will remember who their God is. 250 years later, in the time of Jeremiah, the Rechabites are still obeying the commands of Jonadab. That in sharp contrast with the Isrealites who keep forgetting their God and His commands. May we be obedient like the Rechabites.

    1. Tracy Sullivan says:

      This is such awesome content. Wow!! Thanks for sharing, Arina!

    2. Jane K says:

      Thank you for sharing Arina. I love getting background that adds to the richness of our reading today.

    3. Eva-Marie Hester says:

      Amen! The Holy Spirit is churning my heart in the same way, Erica. As I think about the the extravagant love the Lord showed us through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection why would I not willingly come to Him in repentance? Why would I not intercede for the world? The Lord’s commands are for our benefit. His way of life brings us life. When we stumble or even become rebellious He is a generous and forgiving God, waiting for us with open arms and heart. Providing for us all that we need to live a righteous and abundant life through Him.

    4. Helena Rose says:

      So did the Rechabites follow God or did they have their own god?

    5. Camille English Davis says:

      Thanks for sharing this!

  27. Kristen says:

    I am guilty! I don’t always see my sin for how bad it is to a Holy God. I heard Pastor Charles Stanley day that often people will say that when they get to Heaven, they are going to ask this or do this or that. He said in response that the would not. The only thing they will do is fall face down in the Presence of The Holy God. I think about what Isaiah did. “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.””
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    I don’t want to underestimate my sin or make light of it. Only when I see my sin for what it is, will I truly appreciate the love and sacrifice of the Savior. I want to know the depths of this and be undone by the finished work on the Cross and try to fathom what He endured for my sins. Yes, I want conviction. However, that realization should lead to joy and thankfulness because of amazing grace given to me and you!
    This is a podcast by Tim Keller that talks about being transformed and revolutionized by seeing the depth Jesus went to pay for our sins:

  28. Dorothy says:

    “Our merciful God opens the door to the way of life,…” upon reading this I realized I need to put all my worries and cares and problems in God’s hands. When Rebecca Faires reminded me “Through His grace, God extends to us a promise not unlike the one He offered to the Rechabites: the ongoing blessings of His covenant.” I was overjoyed and was appreciative of His blessings and grace. Rebecca goes on to say, “Because of Jesus, God will abundantly pardon, and grant you peace and joy everlasting.” I am glad I have found Jesus and that God will give me everlasting love, peace and joy. as well as pardon my sins.
    Father in Heaven, thank you for sending Your only Son to die on the cross for my sins and to give me everlasting love, peace, and joy. Remind me to spread Your word during these troubled times and to live a life honorable of You. Amen.

  29. Dana says:

    Thank You God!