This continues our story of the Rechabites found in Jeremiah Chapter 35. Why did God command Jeremiah to gather the Rechabites and give them wine to drink? We answer that question today.
God used the Rechabites as an object lesson to the Israelites. No doubt God knew that they would reject the wine offered them by Jeremiah. If the Rechabites were to drink the wine God would not have employed this tactic. But God knew the hearts of the Rechabites like He knows our hearts. The Rechabites determinedly remained true to their father which was where the Israelites failed their heavenly Father.
God was deeply disgusted with Israel which He made known in His second commandment to Jeremiah after the Rechabites refused to drink wine. In Verses 12-15 God reveals exactly what displeased Him. He commanded Jeremiah to say to the people, â€œWill ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words?â€ Israel was not only disobeying God they were not listening to Him.
Israelâ€™s great insult to God was their inattentiveness to His words. God had shown them how the Rechabites kept the words of their father, Jonadab, but His words went unheard and unheeded by Israel. God reminded them in Verse 15 how He had sent a parade prophets to them warning them to leave their evil ways and return to Him. Did the people listen? No. God indicted them for not inclining (lending) their ears to Him. Would you agree that the same fault pervades the church today?
We all know that our actions bring consequences both good and bad. In Verses 16-19 Jeremiah, speaking for God, relates the outcome for both the disobedient Jews and the faithful Rechabites. This is what God said He would do to the ungodly Israelites. â€œBehold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against themâ€¦â€ Inattentiveness to Godâ€™s Word brings bad consequences.
To the obedient Rechabites God said this: â€œâ€¦Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.â€ What God was saying is that every one of those faithful Rechabites would stand before Him forever. As Christians how comforting it is to know that, as God promised the Rechabites, we will stand with them in heaven before our God and savior Jesus Christ, for eternity. PRAISE GOD!
I donâ€™t think it any stretch of the imagination to see a lesson in the story of the Rechabites for Christians today. The Rechabites lived a separated life from the world unto God their Father. Christians donâ€™t have to follow their code of separation exactly but we are to live separated lives unto God. The guidelines and codes for such a living are given us in the New Testament of Godâ€™s Word.
Are you a Christian? Are you attempting to live a separated life unto God? If so GOD WILL REWARD YOU on that day.
We continue our sermon, titled above, based on the story of the Rechabites in Jeremiah Chapter 35. Yesterday we identified the characters of the story and Godâ€™s commandment to Jeremiah. We begin today with Jeremiahâ€™s obedience to God.
In Verses 3-5 Jeremiahâ€™s obedience to Godâ€™s command is told. He locates the whole band of Rechabites in Jerusalem and conducts them to the house of the Lord. Per Godâ€™s instruction Jeremiah gathers them in a prophetâ€™s chamber and sets containers filled with wine before them saying â€œâ€¦drink ye wine.â€ Did Jeremiah expect the Rechabites to consume the wine? I think not as will be seen later.
If Jeremiah had thought the Rechabites would drink the wine he would have been greatly disappointed with their stern refusal. In Verse 6 the Rechabites in solidarity balked at drinking the wine with these words. â€œWe will drink no wineâ€¦â€ What was the reason for their obstinateness? They reported that their father, Jonadab, had commanded them never to drink wine. How admirable, how commendable that they kept their fatherâ€˜s charge.
The Rechabites continued to inform Jeremiah of their religious codes of conduct in Verses 7-10. In addition to abstaining from wine they were not to build houses and dwell in them. They were not to plant or have a vineyard, nor field, nor seed to plant. The Rechabites roamed the land and lived in tents away from populated centers.
Were the religious codes by which the Rechabites lived given them by God? There is no indication of that in the scripture. It is most likely that Rechab, the founder of the Rechabites, felt impressed to live that way to protest the ungodly world and to be dedicated unto God. He, in exercising a fatherâ€™s authority, passed the religious code to his family and demanded their obedience.
Surely we know that, like the Rechabites of old, Christians are to be separated from this world and dedicated to serving God. Throughout the New Testament Christians are both instructed and commanded many times in various ways to separate from the world thus making us more godly – more holy. We will not reference them here except to quote one very familiar verse. â€œWherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thingâ€¦â€ II Corinthians 6:17
Tomorrow we will continue this sermon by discussing Godâ€™s purpose for this incident with the Rechabites. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU.
Today we will acquaint ourselves with the particulars of this most interesting story of separation found in Jeremiah Chapter 35. You may want to have your Bible open to this text if you can.
JEHOIAKIM: He was the King of Judah around 600 B.C. Jehoiakim was an ungodly king who had been placed in power by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt whom he served more than Israelâ€™s God. Israel was hopelessly estranged from their God. They did not hear nor obey Him.
JEREMIAH: We read in Jeremiah 1:5 that God called him to be a prophet before he was conceived in the womb. Jeremiah surely was one of Godâ€™s great prophets and the author of this renown O.T. prophetic book. Jeremiah had the dubious task of preaching of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the captivity of Israel in Babylon. Jeremiah himself was taken captive and spent the predicted seventy years in Babylon.
THE RECHABITES: This was a small but zealous religious group who were dedicated and separated unto God. A godly man named Rechab had begun the religious sect a number of years earlier. The Rechabites were nomadic and refused to live the customary lifestyle. One writer described them as â€œultra conservatives.â€ God loves this kind of believer!
JONADAB: He was a son of Rechab the founding father of the Rechabites. Jonadab carried on in the tradition of his father by demanding strict adherence to the Rechabite tradition. Jonadab had acquired for himself fame and respect by assisting King Jehu to destroy wicked King Ahab and his family. See II Kings Chapter 10
THE PLOT: God would use the Rechabites to rebuke a godless Israel.
God speaks to Jeremiah in 35:1-2. God commands Jeremiah to go and fetch the Rechabites and bring them into the House of the Lord and give them wine to drink. It sounds like God was enticing the Recabites to get drunk. Could that be so? No. We will understand this better a little later.
We learn in Jeremiah 35:11 that the Rechabites were dwelling in Jerusalem. They had come there for safety from the invasion of the land by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The irony of this is Jerusalem was not a safe place. Jerusalem would soon be besieged and destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.
This story of the separated Rechabites will continue tomorrow. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
First, may I submit that I believe many Christians fail to understand the relevance of the Old Testament to the New Testament and Christianity. I have heard a number of Christians through the years admit they either donâ€™t read the Old Testament or they didnâ€™t think it was that important.
That is a careless and ignorant attitude. The Apostle Paul alluded to the importance of the O.T. with these words: â€œFor whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.â€ Romans 15:4
It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. There is much truth in that witty relationship of the two Bible testaments. The simple truth is one cannot have a true or sufficient understanding of the New Testament without having a good knowledge of the Old Testament. Oneâ€™s faith can be greatly honed by knowledge of the Old Testament.
As our sermon title suggests our subject is the separation unto God by believers – by Christians. Separation is a subject which is not any more common in our churches. I recall hearing it often in churches in my earlier years. Today the spiritual act of separation, like sin and Christian conduct and church discipline, has lost favor with todayâ€™s Christianity.
It is the negligence of vital doctrines of Christian conduct that is sullying the image and influence of Christianity in the world. Do we not know that Godâ€™s intent for believers, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is that they separate themselves unto Him. Christians are responsible for separating themselves from the world and unto God. The truth is any spirit-filled Christian should feel a strong urge to be recognized as a Christian.
The Old Testament tells of many believers who were separated unto God such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David, Daniel and many others. Who could accuse these great men of God of not being separated unto God as we Christians might be? According to Paulâ€™s revelation in Romans 15:4 these men are our examples. We are to aspire to be like them in separation unto God.
In this sermon we are going to investigate a unique religious group that was dedicated and separated unto God. We will meet them tomorrow in Jeremiah Chapter 35. You may wish to read that very interesting story before then. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU.