The Bible does far more than merely teach us how to live; it points to Jesus, who came to rescue us from our sin and shame, changing the lives of everyone who believes in Him. Scripture also provides us with examples to follow, as well as avoid. In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul points to the Israelites’ wandering in the wilderness, telling the wayward Corinthian church that “these things took place as examples for us, so that we will not desire evil things as [the Israelites] did” (v.6).
While Paul provided the Corinthian church with an example to avoid, today’s reading in Jeremiah shows an example of faithfulness that all of God’s people ought to emulate. Jeremiah lived in a faithless generation. The people’s sin against the Lord invited the Lord’s retribution, and the consequences of their sin now stood at their doorstep in the form of the Babylonian army. The Lord chose a people that we know little about, the Rechabites, to show Israel what it means to be faithful to Him.
The Lord told Jeremiah to go to the Rechabites and invite them to the temple for a drink of wine, which Jeremiah did. The Rechabites refused the wine, however, explaining that their ancestor Jonadab had told them that they were to never drink wine. They had remained faithful to the command and lived as he said they should live.
The Lord held the Rechabites’ obedience up as an example, because they had kept the word of their ancestor, Jonadab. But Israel and Judah refused to keep God’s word over and over again. God wanted His people to see the Rechabites’ lifetime of faithful obedience to what had been passed down to them. The Lord spoke in terms that echoed His promise to David (2 Samuel 7), declaring that the Rechabites would endure and that someone from their family would “stand before [Him] always” (Jeremiah 35:19)
The Lord calls His people to faithfulness, and this passage shows us the type of faithfulness He desires. He wants us to hear His Word, read His Word, take His Word to heart, and to obey His Word, not out of a sense of duty but of gladness. As we follow Him faithfully, the Holy Spirit develops the character of Christ in us, and we grow in love for Him and for the people around us. Just as He rewarded the Rechabites for their faithfulness, He desires to reward us as well. Those who walk in glad obedience to Christ experience the joy of knowing Him, and live with the hope of eternal life, which His Son’s perfect faithfulness purchased for us.
Written by Scott Slayton