Sometimes no matter how great the teacher, we fail to learn the lesson. In today’s reading, God directed the prophet Jeremiah to use a family called the Rekabites as an object lesson (v. 13). Who were the Rekabites? During the reign of King Jehu, the Rekabites remained faithful to the Lord, opposed the worship of Baal, and supported Jehu’s reforms (2 Kings 10:15–23).
Today’s reading in Jeremiah chapter 35 takes place more than 200 years later. Although the Rekabites had been forced to take refuge in Jerusalem due to the invading Babylonians, the descendants of the original group had remained loyal to their teachings (Jer. 35:6–11).
When the prophet Jeremiah invited them to drink wine, he was asking them to violate a longstanding tradition (vv. 1–5). They refused. The prophet used their example of faithfulness to condemn the people of Judah (vv. 12-16). If this minority group could consistently obey a human command or tradition, why couldn’t the people of Judah keep God’s Law and repent of their idolatry? God had spoken to them time and time again through the prophets, calling them back to covenant obedience. The contrast was crystal clear: “[The Rekabites] have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me” (v. 16).
Failure to learn brings God’s judgment. It is true that God is patient and merciful. He gives many opportunities and “second chances.” But in the end, He will not be mocked. Failure to learn as a way of life is foolish and sinful. If people think God will never act, they’re tragically mistaken (2 Peter 3:3–7). Sin brings consequences and God’s judgment— in this case, conquest and exile by the Babylonians (Jer. 35:17).
>> If only the people of Judah had heeded God’s words. If only. Then they would have received His blessings of peace and well being (Isa. 48:17–19). Don’t let “if only” be your story!
How quickly we forget the wisdom of obeying the righteous God! Today we confess the areas where we have hardened our hearts against You. Humble us as we resubmit to You these points of disobedience.