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The Recabites June 17, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 35.

Summary: In this passage, God instructs Jeremiah to summon the Recabites to the temple and offer them wine. He brings them to the temple – yet they refuse to drink the wine that he sets before them, asserting that their forefather, Jonadab son of Recab, had commanded them to abstain from wine. Moreover, they continue to heed his command to live as nomads.

God then speaks to Jeremiah, stating that He has ordained these events as an object lesson for the people of Judah. In particular, he contrasts the obedience of the Recabites to the instructions of Jonadab with the disobedience of His people to His instructions concerning idolatry.

Thus, He will punish His people – while blessing the Recabites and their descendants.

Thoughts: Here, we see that God condemns the people of Judah for their idolatry. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verses 12-16:

Jeremiah now applies the example he had related. God’s complaint is linked to it – his people took less notice of him than the descendants of Jonadab did of Jonadab.

It may be natural for us, as modern-day believers, to criticize the people of Judah for their disobedience to God’s commands – yet I believe that we must guard against spiritual complacency. Indeed, it is difficult for us to apply the self-denial that the Recabites displayed in this passage to our modern context. As we attempt to lead simpler lives that reflect an increasing devotion to God, we may crave the pleasures that those around us enjoy. We must continue to ask God to supply what we need for this life while withholding those things that would cause us to lose our focus on Him.

I anticipate meeting at least some of the Recabites in the next life and learning more about them. Was it difficult for them to maintain their nomadic lifestyle? Were they ever tempted to discard the commands of Jonadab? Did they have any opinions concerning the idolatry and wickedness of the people of Judah? What were their thoughts and emotions as Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonians into Judah? What were their thoughts and emotions as Jeremiah summoned them to the temple in Jerusalem? Did any of them go into exile in Babylon after Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar? Did any of their descendants survive to witness the return of the exiles from Babylon?

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