Let’s read those interesting verses: “Then I (Jeremiah) set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls of wine, and cups; and I said to them, ‘Drink wine.’ But they said, ‘We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our faither, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, your nor your sons, forever.’” Before we look in some detail at this passage, I would remind us that Old Testament prophets, at times, were told to do something by the Lord in order to give the nation of Israel an OBJECT LESSON and that’s exactly what we see in this short but instructive chapter. Let’s break this down and see what we can learn.

In verse 1 we read that the Lord told Jeremiah, “Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and GIVE THEM WINE TO DRINK.” We might be thinking, “That is a very strange command; why would the Lord want the Rechabites TO DRINK WINE?”  We already noticed that the Rechabites refused the offer to drink wine because they chose TO OBEY THEIR FATHER. If we read on in verses 7-9, we see that they were given many commandments by their father and they OBEYED THEM ALL. “You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners. Thus, WE OBEYED THE VOICE OF JONADAB…OUR FATHER, IN ALL THAT HE CHARGED US, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sins, or our daughters, nor do we have vineyard, field or seed. But we have dwelt in tents, and HAVE OBEYED and done according to all that Jonadab OUR FATHER COMMANDED US.” Here was a perfect object lesson on OBEDIENCE TO THE COMMANDMENTS OF ONE’S FATHER.

Now let’s read verses 12-14, “Then came the word of the LORD to Jeremiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?” say the LORD. “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and OBEY THEIR FATHER’S COMMANDMENT. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, YOU DID NOT OBEY ME.” It is clear that God used the Rechabites to teach the men of Judah the all-important lesson of OBEDIENCE by showing the stark contrast between the faithful Rechabites and the unfaithful people of Judah. The Lord went on to assure them they would be judged for their disobedience: “Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem ALL THE DOOM THAT I HAVE PRONOUNCED AGAINST THEM; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered” (verse 17). How different was the Lord’s words to the Rechabites, “Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever” (verse 18). How solemn a lesson this was for the people of Judah! Their “disobedience to God” is condemned by the sons of Rechab’s “obedience to their father.” Surely if one honors and obeys their earthly father, how much more reverence and obedience should one have for God in heaven.

This lesson surely applies to believers in Christ today, for when our “heavenly Father speaks, we should obey Him.” He should only have to speak to us ONCE (as Jonadab did) instead of REPEATEDLY (as the Lord did to the men of Judah). Our obedience should be PROMPT and THOROUGH as we saw with the Rechabites. I’m reminded of a wonderful example of this in Genesis chapter 22 where God commanded Abraham to offer up his only son (verses 1-2) and we read of Abraham’s response in verse 3, “So Abraham ROSE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING and saddled his donkey….and WENT TO THE PLACE WHICH GOD HAD TOLD HIM.” Abraham did not procrastinate, nor did he question God’s reasons for such a command; he simply OBEYED. Dear fellow-believer, as we read God’s precious Word with our Father’s commands, do we obey Him PROMPTLY and THOROUGHLY? May we obey implicitly and when asked why we obey may our answer echo that of the Rechabites, “Our Father commanded us.” Those four words need to grab hold of our hearts and compel us to OBEY! His holiness demands it and His love for us deserves it.  (461.3)  (DO)