Day 30

The Rechabites’ Example

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


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

BY Rebecca Faires

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.

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "The Rechabites’ Example"

  1. 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:

      Amen!

  2. 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:

      Amen!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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:

      Amen

  5. 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!

  6. 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: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000465008051

  7. 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.

  8. Dana says:

    Thank You God!

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