Bible Study: Jeremiah 35:1-19
Jeremiah Chapter 35
Lessons from the text
Job and the Rechabites
This account of Jeremiah and the Rechabites is similar to another account in Scripture, that of Job. God looked down, saw Job, and recognized an opportunity to magnify a faithful servant. Before God sent Satan down to test Job, God already knew that Job would endure the trial (Job 1:6-12). Even so, God knew that the Rechabites would refuse Jeremiah’s request to disobey their father’s command.
Why did God send Jeremiah to test the Rechabites? Why did He ask Satan to try Job?
God, knowing that they would endure the test without loosing their uprightness, used the experience to exalt both the people and Himself. The test brought glory to both Job and the Rechabites in that their testimonies were strengthened in the eyes of their peers. The test brought glory to God because He gained yet another victory over sin.
God will send His people through tests and trials so that the character of the person involved will be revealed. When you can endure hardships and temptation with faithfulness and praise towards God, then you are a great witness to all those who are aware of your circumstance. In a very important sense, it is an honor to be chosen by God to endure a test.
Abraham was chosen because God knew his faith in God superseded his understanding of death (Gen. 22:5 implies that Abraham had faith that God would raise Isaac from the dead once he offered him as a sacrifice as he states that both will return from off the mountain). Job was chosen because God knew that he could endure the great losses and physical illness while maintaining great faith in God’s righteousness. The Rechabites were chosen because God knew that they would remain faithful to their father’s command even in the face of an offer from God’s anointed prophet.
All these people were chosen because God saw in their character an uprightness that can endure temptation. If God sends a test your way, instead of glorifying the devil by testifying of how difficult he has made your life, glorify God for counting you worthy of enduring affliction while demonstrating faith in Him.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 This chapter jumps backwards in time, returning to Jehoiakim’s reign. In his short eleven years as king, the Jews went from paying tribute to Egypt to a few years of independence to paying tribute to Babylon to rebelling and losing the battle against Babylon (II Ki. 23:34- 24:1, II Chro. 36:4-7). Verse 11 places the event towards the end of Jehoiakim’s reign, for the Chaldeans have come up to fight against Judah for rebelling against Babylon. It was a very turbulent time for the nation.
2 God gives Jeremiah a command to test the Rechabites. These people were commanded by their father, Jonadab, to abstain from alcohol and live in tents. God sends Jeremiah to see if they are still steadfast in following this command.
3-11 When Jeremiah offers a drink, the Rechabites refuse and cite their command from their father as their reason for refusing. Even though they have moved from the wilderness to the city for fear of death, they are still faithful to the command to neither drink alcohol nor have permanent substance.
12-17 God uses the Rechabites to rebuke the Jews as a whole. This clan has been faithful to perform all the words of their father, yet the Jews have not been faithful to perform the words of God. This is to their shame since God is obviously of higher authority than a human father yet has received less respect than Jonadab. In response, God will turn Jerusalem over to the Chaldeans.
When one disobeys God, God will remove His protective power and allow one’s enemies to be victorious. God is righteous in doing so because He repeatedly sends warnings and messengers to teach one of the consequences to one’s decision. If one refuses God’s warnings and continues as one pleases, one will be lead to destruction.
18-19 The Rechabites, because of their obedience to their earthly father, will be blessed by their Heavenly Father. God will honor the characteristics of faithfulness, righteousness, and meekness. He is interested in the condition of the heart; if one is upright inwardly, God will bless, even if that uprightness is directed towards other men and not necessarily Himself.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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