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"A Lesson in Obedience"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
April 20, 2005
A parenting tip: When you want a child to do something that he or she is
resistant to do, commend the other child who is doing it. The disobedient
one will most likely want to do it too - unless he or she is a remarkably
rebellious child . . . like Israel of old!
In this chapter, at a time of impending judgment, God gives a flash-back
example from the days of King Jehoiakim. God commended the obedience of
someone in order to shame and convict the rebelliousness of the leaders of
Israel. Sadly, the lesson in obedience wasn't heeded.
I. THE EXAMPLE OF OBEDIENCE (vv. 1-11).
A. This occurred years prior to the time of Jeremiah's imprisonment (v. 1).
God perhaps includes this story at this place as a way of reinforcing the
conviction of King Zedekiah (chp. 34).
B. Jeremiah was commanded to call the Rechabites to the temple (v. 2).
They were decedents of the Kinites (2 Chron. 2:55). They were the
descendants of Moses' father-in-law (Judges 1:16); and are always spoken of
well in the Bible. Their most esteemed ancestor was Jonadab (2 Kings 10:15,
23). They had apparently lived as Nazarites (Num. 6:1-8) in obedience to
Jonadab's instructions 250 years earlier. They had come to Jerusalem to
escape the threat of the coming Babylonians (v. 11).
C. Jeremiah brought them into the tempe, and to a very visible place (vv.
3-4). The were no doubt welcomed in because of their outstanding reputation
for spiritual devotion.
D. Jeremiah did something shocking. He set wine before them and urged them
to drink. He no doubt had an eye to the leaders of Jerusalem as he did
this - knowing that the Rechabites would refuse out of devotion and obedience
to their forefather (vv. 6-11). This was much like the test that God placed
before Moses to prove Moses character in Exodus 32:10.
II. THE LESSON FROM OBEDIENCE (vv. 12-16).
A. God used this as a lesson to rebuke the people of Israel. He made it
very clear that this was meant to be instructive (vv. 12-13).
B. The Rechabites obeyed their "father"; though his authority and direct
influence over them had died long ago when he died. Nevertheless, they
esteemed his command and faithfully obeyed (v. 14a).
C. But the people of Israel had a living God whose frequent word they still
disobeyed (vv. 14b-16).
III. THE REWARDS OF OBEDIENCE (vv. 17-19).
A. God pronounces judgment on the people of Jerusalem who would not obey
B. But God promised reward for the faithfulness of the Rechabites who
obeyed their father (vv. 18-19). This didn't mean that they would become
priests or Levites. Exactly how God kept this promise is something we don't
know; but we can be sure that He did.
* * * * * * * * * *
Is your life something God can use to rebuke the unfaithfulness of others?
Or must God use the faithfulness of others to rebuke you? true!