God has always valued obedience. He made it a condition of salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
Read about the Rechabites in Jeremiah 35. (Some versions, like the NLT, spell it “Recabites.”) God contrasted their obedience to their ancestor with the rebellion of his people Israel. Here are three lessons I took from my latest reading of the chapter.
#1. Even in the darkest and most pessimistic situation, good can be found. Judah was on the verge of destruction. Jeremiah prophesied its imminent judgment. To a rebellious nation, God used the obedient Rechabites as an example of what Israel should have been. Our day is much like that of Jeremiah: saints on many sides are abandoning the commandments of God. They equate obedience with legalism. But God has always honored obedience and one can find his obedient children in the midst of a perverse generation.
#2. Obedience is tested. Perhaps Jeremiah’s testing of the the Rechabites is more on the order of illustration, allowing him and others to see their obedience by the offering of wine and the refusal that the Lord knew would follow. God creates moments to prove those who are committed to the principle of obedience.
#3. Obedience will appear. The pastoral Rechabites had moved into the capital when they saw approaching danger. Though they would never had surfaced as notable people in Judaic society, God made them appear as a lesson to his people. He does the same today. The Lord Jesus makes his followers appear as he seeks to reach more people with the gospel. His light shines through them.
What lessons do you see from the Rechabites at this critical point in Judah’s history?