Jeremiah 35: The Rechabites?

(19 verses, 3:11 to read)

LISTEN and READ

What I am about to READ

  • A little known group of people are seen as a great example for the nation of Judah.

MARK

  • vv. 1-11: Jeremiah goes to the house of the Lord, visits with, and receives the Rechabites.
  • vv. 12-17: The Lord uses the faithfulness of the Rechabites to preach against the people of Judah
  • vv. 18-19: Blessings for the Rechabites

 

  • LEARN
  • Nebuchadnezzar is at it again.  His armies are brought down upon the people of Judah  and there is little, if any resistance, that can be made.  During this time, the Rechabites seek refuge inside the city walls of Jerusalem.  …  The Lord tells Jeremiah to meet with these people and receive them in the Temple.  Eat with them and offer them wine to drink; for these are God’s children as well.
    • We know very little about the Rechabites.  Their name sake was Rechab, but their the greatest known among them was Jehonadab (or Jonadab as seen in Jeremiah 35).
      • Jehonadab was one of the individuals who aided in the destruction of the house of Ahab.  He was a faithful follower of YHWH and helped to kick out Baal worship from Jerusalem (II Kings 10:15-23).
    • The Rechabites were Kenites.  They joined with the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness (Numbers 10:29-32).  As they wandered, they became identified with the tribe of Judah; but as can be seen by Jeremiah 35, they always remained somewhat autonomous.
    • The Rechabites were semi-nomadic; hence the reason why they lived outside the city walls in tents.  They neither grew anything or farmed anything; but instead were mostly traders and foragers.  But as the army of Nebuchadnezzar was descending upon Jerusalem, they took safety inside the walls.
    • They were probably a very small clan as it appears all of them were able to fit inside the Temple at once.
  • Offered wine to drink, the Rechabites decline.  Ever since the time of Jehonadab/Jonadab, their patriarchal father, they have heeded his words, obey his commands and have neither sown nor reaped nor drank alcohol, but instead lived the life of a nomad.
  • At the knowledge of this, the Word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah and tells him to tell father people of Israel that they shall be judged, but the Rechabites shall be blessed.
    • The reason for this is that not only have the Rechabites apparently been faithful to YHWH (and they are but sojourners), but they also hold fidelity so dear that they have remained faithful to the commands of their earthly “father”, Jonadab.
    • But the people of Israel, the people of Judah, have failed to remain faithful to their spiritual father YHWH.  Here they had another chance to show their love for Him while Nebuchadnezzar’s army had receded for a while, but instead they went back to their old ways.  They trusted in themselves and failed to hold fast to the promises and commands of their heavenly father.

MEDITATE

  • Prayer: God of Israel and Lord of Judah, You use the weak and the small to ridicule and speak against the strong and self-righteous.  In this way You gave for us the example of the Rechabites who remained faithful to their father and to You amidst the assaults of their enemies.  May we ever hold fast to the saving faith that You have granted to us so that we, having completed our race, may finally be brought into the Promise Land; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/

-Rev. Eli Lietzau, pastor
Faith in Christ Lutheran Church, ABQ, NM

 

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