to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
September 11, 2019 – Wednesday
Jeremiah 35:8-10 NIV
8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine
9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops.
10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us.
This chapter in Jeremiah is about the Rekabites (also spelled Rechabites), a most unusual family or tribe. God uses them as an example of obedience to the people of Judah. The Rekabites not only obeyed God, but their forefather Jehonadab. Their obedience to the commands of Jehonadab was to serve as a rebuke to Judah who would not follow the commands of the Lord their God.
In this chapter there are seven occurrences of the word obey, so be assured this chapter is distinctly about obedience and disobedience. Beyond the two occurrences above we have
13 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey My words?’ declares the Lord. 14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed Me.
16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed Me.’
18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ 19 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve Me.’”
The last verse was included as it contains a promise from God to the people of Jehonadab son of Rekab, the Rekabites. There are questions about whether or not the promise has been kept. Discussion on this can be found here and especially in the back and forth of the comments. Wikipedia records the notes of a Reverend Wolff who claimed in 1839 to have found a tribe claiming be descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab. A more spiritual ‘story’ of the descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab may be found here titled Zosimus and the Rechabites, but be forewarned this is a pseudepigrapha which is a writing (other than the canonical books and the Apocrypha) professing to be Biblical in character.
Returning to Jeremiah 35, it is not the particular commands the Rekabites followed and obeyed, but the fact that they obeyed them through many generations. All this while God’s chosen people would not obey Him. So He honored them with a promise while He promises great consequences against His own chosen people for their disobedience.
Today some of God’s people are like Judah of Jeremiah’s day. They refuse to listen to the truth of the Bible. They refuse to repent and amend their ways. They choose to listen to false teachers, preachers, and pastors who in effect and clearly say disobedience to God’s word is okay.
Given the contrast between the Rekabites and the people of Judah, which would we choose or should we choose to be like? Okay, the answer is easy, but is the actual practice? What does your life exhibit? Obedience or disobedience?
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)