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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

      ❤️

  5. 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.

  6. 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❣️

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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