Scripture reading – Jeremiah  34; Jeremiah 35


Jeremiah 34 – Death Comes Knocking

With Nebuchadnezzar’s great army arrayed outside the walls of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 34:1), the LORD came to Jeremiah. He commanded His prophet to declare Jerusalem’s imminent destruction to the king (Jeremiah 34:1-2). Jeremiah warned Zedekiah he would be taken prisoner to Babylon (Jeremiah 34:3). He assured the king he would not die by the sword. He would die in peace in that foreign city (Jeremiah 34:4-5).  

The LORD then commanded that there would be no slaves in Judah and that all servants be set free by their masters before captivity (Jeremiah 34:8-9). The people covenanted with Zedekiah to set their servants free and to be bound by the covenant (Jeremiah 34:10). Yet, with death and destruction knocking at the gates of the city, the foolish people broke their covenant with the king (Jeremiah 34:11), enslaved their brethren, and invited God’s judgment for their defiance (Jeremiah 34:12-21).

One would hope the people’s hearts would be tender and humble before the LORD and their king; however, they treated the king with disdain and persecuted God’s prophet. Such is the fate of many who dare to preach God’s Word to a people or nation that rejects the LORD. 


Closing thought for Jeremiah 34 –

Times have changed, but sinners have not. The tragedy of 21st-century “Christianity” (and I use that term in the broadest sense) is that the majority of those who profess to be “Christian” shun the authority of God’s Word in their lives. Let all be forewarned: We reject the Scriptures at our peril.

Warning: Reject the Word of God, and the Wrath of the LORD will Fall!

Jeremiah 34

Jeremiah 35 – The House of the Rechabites 

We are introduced to the “house of the Rechabites” (Jeremiah 35:2), who were not Hebrew by lineage but initially associated with the house of Israel through Moses. The Rechabites were descendants of the Kenites, the original inhabitants of Canaan. Jethro (Exodus 18:12), Moses’ father-in-law, was a Kenite (Judges 1:16; 1 Chronicles 2:55). Yet, the Rechabites were nomadic and believers in Yahweh.

A Lesson in Fidelity (Jeremiah 35:2-11)

The LORD commanded Jeremiah to summon the Rechabites to the Temple and set before them “wine to drink” (Jeremiah 35:2). The men of Rechab were directed to a chamber off the Temple, where a test of their devotion would be seen by others (Jeremiah 35:3-4). Obeying the LORD, Jeremiah “set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and [the prophet] said unto them, Drink ye wine” (Jeremiah 35:5).

The Rechabites, however, refused to obey Jeremiah and said, “We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever” (Jeremiah35:6).

Who was Jonadab?

He lived some 200 years before Jeremiah and was of the Kenite clan, and a son of Rechab. While he was not descended from the Tribes, he had been a mighty man in Israel and was numbered among those who cut off the lineage of Ahab, the wicked king of Israel (2 Kings 10:15-28). Desiring to see his people continue their nomadic way of life and not be enticed by the world and its pleasures, Jonadab instructed the Rechabites to “drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: 7Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers” (Jeremiah 35:6b-7).

Two hundred years later, the Rechabites continued to obey Jonadab’s instructions (Jeremiah 35:8-10). However, because of Babylon’s invasion and raiders from Babylon and Syria ravaging the country, the Rechabites were forced to abandon their tents and move into Jerusalem (Jeremiah 35:11).


Judah and Jerusalem Rebuked (Jeremiah 35:12-17)

The Rechabites’ faithfulness to the teachings of Jonadab served as a backdrop to Jeremiah rebuking the people’s unfaithfulness to the LORD (Jeremiah 35:12-13). While the Rechabites continued to honor the teachings of Jonadab, a man who lived two centuries before (Jeremiah 35:14), Judah and Jerusalem refused to obey the LORD (Jeremiah 35:14b).

The LORD had sent prophets and called on the people to forsake their sins and idols and repent, but they had refused to obey Him (Jeremiah 35:13). The Rechabites, in contrast, obeyed Jonadab’s instructions, though he was a man. Tragically, Judah and Jerusalem would not hear nor obey the LORD (Jeremiah 35:15).

Jeremiah warned that because the people refused to obey the LORD and put away their idols and sinful ways, God would bring upon them “all the evil [He had] pronounced against them” (Jeremiah 35:17).

Jeremiah 35:6

God Promised to Bless the Rechabites (Jeremiah 35:18-19)

Remembering that the LORD is the Judge and His judgment is just, Jeremiah declared that the LORD would bless the Rechabites. They obeyed a righteous man’s commands and “kept all his precepts” (Jeremiah 35:18). Therefore, the LORD determined He would bless their faithfulness. While many households of Judah and Jerusalem would perish, the LORD promised He would remember the household of Rechab. Jonadab’s lineage would never be without a son (Jeremiah 35:19).

True to His promise, 150 years later, a descendant of Rechab was named among those who returned to Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:14).


Closing thoughts –

How different our lives and families would be if we denied ourselves the sins and pleasures of the world! Will you choose to be a Jonadab in your generation and seek to leave a godly lineage?

I fear most believers are busy championing their liberties, and only some are willing to consider their legacy and lasting testimony. In the words of an old gospel song,

“This world is not my home; I’m just passing through.”

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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