The sermon today was on Jeremiah 35. I have never heard anyone speak on this passage and was totally unfamiliar with it. Basically Jeremiah is told to take this nomadic family, the Rechabites, to the temple and give them wine to drink. God was very specific about what room in the temple they were to go to. He was to take them to a room near the chamber of the officials, near the doorkeeper (who was a very important person in the temple). This significance of the room had to do with it being connected to the rooms of the leaders of the temple - the leaders of Israel.
Jeremiah followed God’s direction but when he offered the Rechabites wine they refused! They told him that their ancestor had decreed that the family should never drink wine, never build a house, never plant vineyards, never plant other crops; basically this family was instructed by an ancestor to always remain nomadic. The important thing to remember is that for at least three generations this family had continued to follow this decree for over 200 years. Just because the great grandfather said to.
The lesson God had from this family was simple. This family had obeyed the decree of their ancestor but God himself had told the Israelites what to do and they had not obeyed. Because of their disobedience, God allowed Israel to be taken into captivity. “There is much to learn from this family. The Rechabites stood firm against assimilating into the culture of the time. They were commended by God for their faithfulness and obedience to their father. The Rechabites are an example of steadfastness. God desires His people to live in obedience and steadfastness to Him.” (https://www.gotquestions.org/Rechabites.html)
Romans 12:2 connects this story to how we as New Testament believers are to stand firm against assimilating into the sinfulness of our culture. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I was left thinking about my life, my choices, my culture. Do I follow the precepts of God as I live surrounded by non-believers? Am I steadfast? Do I conform or transform?