The Faithful Recabites
This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: 2 “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.”
The Recabites were related to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro the Kenite (1 Chronicles 2:55). Though not ethnic Jews, this nomadic tribes lived among or near the Israelites and zealously attempted to be faithful to the Lord. (In modern terms they were something of a combination of back-to-nature hippies and zealously pure in their traditions Amish.) They got their name from their forefather Recab, whose son Jonadab had helped to remove Baal worship temporarily from Israel 250 years earlier (2 Kings 10:15-28). The Recabiltes from one generation to the next took a permanent vow not to drink wine and obeyed Jonadab’s other instructions, including living in tents rather than in houses and towns—until the Babylonian invasion forced them to take refuge in Jerusalem. Their faithfulness to their community’s values contrasted starkly with the lack of integrity in Judah as a whole, and particularly in Jerusalem, regarding the people’s covenant with God. (The Archaeology Study Bible)
3 So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. 4 I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper.
5 I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, 6 but they refused.
“No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. 7 And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ 8 So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. 9 We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. 11 But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.”
12 Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. 14 The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. 15 Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’
The point was not strictly the drinking or not drinking of wine; it was obedience to the teaching of their spiritual father Jonadab. Jeremiah didn’t use this to make a point about drinking wine, but about obedience. Nevertheless, God honored the Rechabites for their steadfast refusal to drink alcohol, and they were not mocked or criticized for this obedience.
17 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’”
18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”
We do not know them, but God knows their names and remembers their faithfulness!
· The Rechabites obeyed a fallible leader; the people of Judah disobeyed the eternal God
· The Rechabites received their command only once from their leader and obeyed; the people of Judah received their command from God again and again and still disobeyed
· The Rechabites obeyed regarding earthly things; the people of Judah disobeyed in regard to eternal things
· The Rechabites obeyed their leader’s commands over about 300 years; the people of Judah continually disobeyed their God
· The Rechabites would be rewarded; the people of Judah would be judged
What a privilege to receive and to leave a godly heritage! HERE is Steve Green and “Find Us Faithful.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.