OBEDIENCE to GODLY INSTRUCTIONS has GREAT REWARDS: And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: 'Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever." (Jer 35:18-19)
The Rechabites were named after Rechab whose son Jonadab was active in aiding Jehu in the expulsion of Baal worship in the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 841 B.C., and they descended from the Kenites (Judges 1:16; 1 Chr. 2:55).
Jeremiah obeyed the Lord by inviting the Rechabites into the house of the Lord and by offering them wine to drink (v. 1-5). The Rechabites courteously refused to drink it because of instructions their father had given them (v. 6) in line with the Nazarite vows (Judges 13:5; 2 Kings 10:15). The vow taken by Jonadab the son of Rechab had committed his descendants to a nomadic life and abstinence from wine, which was a voluntary commitment that was not required by the Mosaic Law (Deut. 6:10, 11; 7:13). Further, they refused to build houses, sow seeds, plant or own vineyards due to which they were forced to live in Jerusalem by the advance of the Chaldeans (v. 7-11). They maintained a true pilgrim character. What an example!
In marked contrast were the people of Judah. While the Rechabites obeyed and followed the teachings of Jonadab their father, Judah had neither obeyed the Lord nor followed His instructions. The Rechabites were more loyal to their earthly father and his human judgments than the people of Judah were to their Creator God. Because the Rechabites were faithful to the command of their forefather, the Lord assured them they would always have descendants who would worship the Lord! (v. 18-19)
People sometimes excuse or justify their immoral behavior with the attitude that “everybody’s doing it.” But that notion is false. Not everyone is doing it. Not everyone is giving way to popular opinion. The Rechabites showed that it is possible to remain obedient and faithful to God, no matter what other people may be doing. God is always looking for individuals whose lives are characterized by obedience and faithfulness. Such individuals will experience God’s blessing even in the midst of trials! “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (1 Cor 4:2) "A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished." (Prov 28:20)
Let us also commit to be faithful to God alone and fully obey His instructions by walking in His will: "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev 2:10)