“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the Lord, (35:13).
I was once again struck with the reality of our Heavenly Father, so extremely relentless in His pursuit of His people.
But then I thought of some of the fathers I know; fathers who make it their life ambition to train up their children in the way they should go, fathers who would do anything to spare their children from harm. So I really shouldn’t be surprised, but somehow I always am. Somehow, I just can’t get over the persistence of Holy God in His endless display of grace towards wicked, rebellious sinners as He repeatedly sends His Words of Instruction. If only they would listen. If only we all would listen.
And today is another object lesson, only the object this time is a family. But this family, the Rechabite family, is not even of the Hebrew race; they are of the Kenite race, who live in devoted obedience to the commands of their father passed down from generation to generation.
“These are the same with the Kenites, who descended from Hobab or Jethro, Moses’s father in law, Judges 1:16; these, as their ancestors, became proselytes to Israel, and always continued with them, though a distinct people from them,” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.
This family had taken their father’s words seriously and determined they would follow his commands so as not to deviate from them at all, even when the deviation was offered by the prophet of God in the temple of God.
“Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.”… 5 Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine!” 6 But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. 7 You shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn,’” (35:2, 5-7).
They lived in obedience to their father’s commands, willing to live as nomads and determined to not be influenced by worldly pleasures or comforts, that they would have long life. They only came to the city of Jerusalem to live when forced to seek shelter from the Babylonian siege.
“But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come and let us go to Jerusalem before the army of the Chaldeans and before the army of the Arameans.’ So we have dwelt in Jerusalem.” (35:11).
Is it any wonder we detect exasperation as God compares obedience to an earthly father from those who are not even of the Hebrew people, with the disobedience to Him, the Perfect, Heavenly Father by His chosen people? How can these men live in such obedience to earthly instruction, when He comes with Heavenly Words and gives His perfect Instruction?
It is His desire for all to listen to His Words of Instruction, otherwise He would have just spoken once. He is the Lord of Hosts, the Sovereign Ruler of all creation. He should only have to speak once to be obeyed. But He spoke again and again, and He sent His prophets again and again.
“The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink wine to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. 15 Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying…” (35:14-15).
Oh, His heart for His people, His love expressed in His continuous attempts to call them to faith. And if His people had only listened, if His people had only received His Truth and learned, if they had only inclined their ear to Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction.
Consider Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction
As we dig into just five short verses in this chapter, we will uncover a treasure trove of Truth, and of course, we will see Jesus as we consider Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction.
“… But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. 15 Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me… 17 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.’” 18 Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you; 19 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 always.”’” (35:14-18).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction again and again.
“But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me”
- God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (Hebrews 1:1).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction by many prophets.
“Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again”
- in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world, (Hebrews 1:2).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would turn from evil.
“saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds’”
- From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matthew 4:17).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would worship only Him.
“‘and do not go after other gods to worship them’”
- And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only,’” (Luke 4:6-8).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would dwell in His promised provision.
“Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers”
- For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:38-39).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would incline our ear and listen to Him.
“but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me”
- Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!” 8 All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone, (Mark 9:7-8).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would be spared from judgment.
“Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.’”
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life,” (John 5:24).
- He Sends His Words of Instruction that we would stand before Him always.
Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you; 19 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 always.”’”
- Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen, (Jude 1:24-25).
How do we respond to Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction?
Do you wonder why? Why He is so relentless? Why doesn’t He just stop pursuing us? Oh, can you get over His indescribable love and grace in Jesus Christ? He Sends His Words of Instruction, again and again, so relentless in His patience and desire that none would perish.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).
Let us be intentional to incline our ear to listen; for He Sends His Words of Instruction again and again, that we would have everlasting life in Him. That has always been His purpose.
“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David,” (Isaiah 55:3).
Oh, that we would truly grow in our understanding that His Words of Instruction are Words of Eternal Life.
As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life, (John 6:66-68).
Let us ask Him to so grow us in our hunger for His Words of Instruction, until we understand that every Word that proceeds from His mouth is truly our very sustenance for all of life.
He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord, (Deuteronomy 8:3).
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4).
And as His Words of Instruction become our very life, our love will surely grow and our obedience will be anything but a burden.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (1 John 14:15).
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome, (1 John 5:3).
For He Sends His Words of Instruction, again and again, that we would live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age through faith in the salvation we have in our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds, (Titus 2:11-14).
Oh, may it never be said of us, that we would not listen to our Heavenly Father Who so generously sends His Words of Instruction again and again. For all that we need is there for us, each and every day, in every page of His Holy Word.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Oh, that we would daily incline our ear and listen to Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction. Let us ask Him to grow us to become like the Kenite family, that we would live in obedience to our Heavenly Father’s commands, willing to live as nomads in this world and determined to not be influenced and lured away by worldly pleasures or comforts as we treasure His Words of Instruction in our heart so as to never wander from His Way.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You, (Psalm 119:9-11).
Let us take to heart the words of the wisest earthly father who ever lived, inspired by Him Who Sends His Words of Instruction, that we would remember His teaching, walk in obedience and keep His commandments, that we would have His life and know His peace all the days of this life on earth.
My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you, (Proverbs 3:1-2).