The Recabites

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.

Jeremiah 35:15

So, a very interesting story crops up in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah. We meet a rather obscure people group from the time of the reign of King Josiah called the Recabites. God goes to the prophet and tells him to invite this family, and He tells him to offer them some wine. When he gets the family together, he discovers something startling.

Jeremiah likely stood there a little awkwardly when they replied by saying, “Well, we don’t really drink. See, one of our ancestors commanded us not to consume wine as well as some other things, and, well, we’ve listened and kept that command” (vs.3-11).

Talk about foot in mouth. Jeremiah probably started scratching the back of his head, looking up toward heaven and wondering why God would tell him to offer wine to these people; God gave him his answer. The Lord wanted to show the people of Judah an example of obedience.

Here was this family who followed instructions that very much went against the society surrounding them. Not only did they not drink, they didn’t build homes or plant crops. Instead, they lived in tents. They obeyed commands when everything else around them suggested otherwise. They likely had no reason to follow those commands when they saw the people around them thriving with on their farms and enjoying themselves with wine. Yet, they persisted in following those commands even when they did not make sense.

To me, this is a representation of what many commandments are. When the Recabites heeded the instructions of their ancestor, they demonstrated a great amount of trust. Despite the second-guessing, they did not waver. They showed that they believed in the words of their ancestor even in the face of adversity.

This got me to thinking about obeying the commandments of God, and it gave me a perspective on what it looks like when I disobey some of those commandments. It’s really all a matter of trust. When the Recabites’ ancestor gave his instructions, it likely stemmed from his wisdom, something that he had experienced in his life led him to give his advice. The Recabites, at least, responded by believing that what he had said came from the fruit of experience, and they trusted it. They believed that they could trust him.

So, when God gives a command, I think that it more or less represents God saying, “Trust me; trust that I know best, that I love you and I want what’s best for you.” Obeying the commands of God, even when they don’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense, reveals trust. It’s a different way to think  about sin. It’s taking the commandments of the Lord and saying, “I know better.” It’s something that I must say pretty often with the amount of times that I do disobey.

I want to trust God with more than just my words. I want to show it with my actions too. So often, that is where I fall short. I want to demonstrate that I trust the Lord and that I love His laws. I want to show that I really do believe that He knows best.

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