The Faithfulness of the Rechabites
35 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, saying, 2 “Go to the house of the Rechabites, and speak with them, and bring them to the house of Yahweh into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.” 3 So I took Jaazaniah, the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers, and all his sons, and the whole of the house of the Rechabites, 4 and I brought them to the house of Yahweh, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was beside the chamber of the officials, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah, the son of Shallum, the keeper of the threshold.
5 Then I set before the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine and cups, and I said to them, “Drink wine.” 6 But they answered, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our ancestor, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your children, forever. 7 And you shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed, and you shall not plant a vineyard, and it shall not be for you, but in tents you shall live all your days, so that you may live many days on the surface of the land where you are dwelling as aliens.’ 8 And we obeyed the voice of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our ancestor, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, 9 and not to build houses for our living, and there is not vineyard, or field, or seed for us. 10 But we have lived in tents, and we have obeyed, and we have done all that Jehonadab, our ancestor, commanded us. 11 But then at the coming up against the land of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, then we said, ‘Come and let us go to Jerusalem before the army of the Chaldeans, and before the army of the Arameans.’ That is why we are living in Jerusalem.”
12 And the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah, saying, 13 “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Go and say to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Can you not learn a lesson to listen to my words?” declares Yahweh. 14 “The words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, that he commanded his descendants to not drink, have been carried out, and they have not drunk until this day, for they have obeyed the command of their ancestor. But I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened to me. 15 And I have sent to you all my servants the prophets, I have sent them over and over again, saying, ‘Turn back please each one from his evil way, and amend your deeds, and you must not go after other gods to serve them, so that you may live on the land that I gave to you and to your ancestors.’ But you did not incline your ear and you did not listen to me. 16 For the descendants of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, have carried out the command of their ancestor that he commanded them, but this people did not listen to me.”
17 Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, “Look, I am going to bring to Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem every disaster that I have spoken against them, because I have spoken to them and they have not listened, and I have called to them and they have not answered.” ’ ” 18 But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have listened to the command of Jonadab your ancestor, and you have kept all his commands, and you have done all that he commanded you,’ 19 therefore thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘A man will not be cut off for Jonadab, the son of Rechab, to stand before me always.’ ”
Jehoiakim Burns the Scroll of Jeremiah’s Prophecies
36 And then in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 “Take for yourself a scroll and you must write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day that I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah, and until this day. 3 Perhaps when the house of Judah hears all the disasters that I am planning to do to them, then they may turn back each one from his evil way, and I will forgive their guilt and their sin.”
4 Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah, and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of Yahweh that he had spoken to him on a scroll. 5 And Jeremiah instructed Baruch, saying, “I am held back, I am not able to enter the temple of Yahweh. 6 So you must go and you shall read aloud from the scroll that you have written from my mouth the words of Yahweh in the hearing of the people in the temple of Yahweh on a day of fast, and also you shall read aloud in the hearing of all those of Judah who came from their towns. 7 Perhaps their plea will fall before Yahweh and each one will turn away from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath that Yahweh pronounced against this people.” 8 And Baruch the son of Neriah did all that Jeremiah the prophet instructed him, to read aloud from the scroll the words of Yahweh in the temple of Yahweh.
9 And then in the fifth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, the king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the towns of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before Yahweh. 10 Then Baruch read aloud from the scroll the words of Jeremiah in the temple of Yahweh, in the chamber of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, the secretary, in the upper courtyard at the entrance of the New Gate of the temple of Yahweh in the hearing of all the people.
11 When Micaiah, the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, heard all the words of Yahweh from the scroll, 12 he went down to the house of the king, to the chamber of the secretary, and look, all the officials were sitting there: Elishama the secretary, and Delaiah, the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan, the son of Achbor, and Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah, the son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. 13 And Micaiah told them all the words that he had heard at the reading aloud of Baruch from the scroll in the hearing of the people.
14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi, the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch, saying, “The scroll that you read aloud from in the hearing of the people, take it in your hand and come.” And Baruch the son of Neriah took the scroll in his hand and he came to them. 15 And they said to him, “Sit please and read it aloud in our hearing.” So Baruch read aloud in their hearing. 16 And then, the moment of their hearing all the words, they turned to one another in alarm and they said to Baruch, “We must certainly report all these words to the king!” 17 Then they asked Baruch, saying, “Tell us please, how did you write all these words, from his mouth?” 18 And Baruch said to them, “From his mouth. He dictated to me all these words and I was writing on the scroll with the ink.” 19 Then the officials said to Baruch, “Go, hide yourself, you and Jeremiah, and let not a man know where you are.”
20 And they went to the king, to the courtyard, and they put the scroll for safe-keeping in the chamber of Elishama the secretary, and they reported all the words in the hearing of the king. 21 Then the king sent Jehudi to take the scroll, and he took it from the chamber of Elishama the secretary, and Jehudi read it aloud in the hearing of the king, and in the hearing of all the officials who stood next to the king. 22 Now the king was sitting in the quarters of the winter in the ninth month, and a fire-pot was burning before him. 23 And then, as Jehudi read three or four columns, he would cut it up in pieces with the knife of the scribe, and he would throw it into the fire that was in the fire-pot until the whole of the scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire-pot. 24 And the king and any of his servants who heard all these words were not startled, and they did not tear their garments. 25 And even when Elnathan, and Delaiah, and Gemariah urged the king not to burn the scroll, he would not listen to them. 26 And the king commanded Jerahmeel, the son of the king, and Seraiah, the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah, the son of Abdeel, to arrest Baruch the secretary and Jeremiah the prophet, but Yahweh hid them.
27 And the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah after the king burned the scroll and the words that Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 28 “Take again for yourself another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll which Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, has burned. 29 And concerning Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, you shall say, ‘Thus says Yahweh, “You have burned this scroll, saying, ‘Why have you written in it, saying, “The king of Babylon will certainly come and he will destroy this land, and he will cause to disappear from it humankind and animals”?’ ” 30 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, “There will not be for him one who sits on the throne of David. And his dead body will be thrown out to the heat in the day and to the frost in the night. 31 And I will punish him, and his offspring, and his servants for their guilt, and I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the people of Judah all the disaster with which I have threatened them, but they would not listen.” ’ ” 32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the son of Neriah, the secretary, and he wrote on it from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, had burned in the fire, and furthermore was added to them many words like these.
The Glory that is to be Revealed
18 For I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us. 19 For the eagerly expecting creation awaits eagerly the revelation of the sons of God. 20 For the creation has been subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its servility to decay, into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers agony together until now. 23 Not only this, but we ourselves also, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves while we await eagerly our adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we await it eagerly with patient endurance.
26 And likewise also, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as one ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unexpressed groanings. 27 And the one who searches our hearts knows what the mindset of the Spirit is, because he intercedes on behalf of the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined, these he also called, and those whom he called, these he also justified, and those whom he justified, these he also glorified.
Victory in Christ
31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, together with him, freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring charges against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ is the one who died, and more than that, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction or distress or persecution or hunger or lack of sufficient clothing or danger or the sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“On account of you we are being put to death the whole day long;
we are considered as sheep for slaughter.”
37 No, but in all these things we prevail completely through the one who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, 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 that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Words of the Wise
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise;
you shall apply your heart to my teaching.
18 For it is pleasant if you guard them within you;
together they will be ready upon your lips.
19 In order for your trust to be in Yahweh,
I have made them known to you today—even you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings
with admonitions and knowledge?
21 In order to show you what is right—sayings of truth—
in order to return a true saying to him who sent you.
22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
and do not crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 For Yahweh will plead their case
and despoil those who despoil them of life.
24 Do not befriend an owner of anger,
and with a man of wrath you shall not associate;
25 lest you learn his way
and become entangled in a snare to yourself.
26 Do not be with those who give a pledge
by becoming surety.
27 If there is nothing for you to pay,
why will he take your bed from under you?
28 Do not remove an ancient boundary marker
which your ancestors made.
29 A man who is skillful in his work, you shall see:
before kings, he will serve;
he will not serve before the commoners.
23 When you sit to eat with a ruler,
you shall surely observe what is before you,
2 and you shall put a knife to your throat
if you have a big appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
for it is food of deception.
4 Do not tire in order to become rich;
out of your understanding, may you desist.
5 Your eyes will alight on it, but there is nothing to it,
for suddenly it will make for itself wings
like an eagle and it will be exhausted in the heavens.
6 Do not eat the bread of the stingy,
and do not desire his delicacies.
7 For, like hair in his throat, so it is.
“Eat and drink!” he will say to you,
but his heart will not be with you.
8 Your morsel you have eaten, you will vomit it up,
and you will waste your pleasant words.
9 In the ears of a fool do not speak,
for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove an ancient boundary marker,
and on the fields of orphans do not encroach;
11 For their redeemer is strong,
he himself will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction,
and your ear to sayings of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child,
if you will beat him with the rod, he will not die.
14 As for you, with the rod you shall beat him,
and his life you will save from Sheol.
15 My child, if your heart is wise,
my heart will be glad—even me!
16 And my insides will rejoice
when your lips speak what is upright.
17 May your heart not envy the sinners,
but live in fear of Yahweh all day.
18 Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
We’re often slow to learn and quick to speak. We think we know God’s ways, but He can easily prove us wrong. Many of us have made this mistake: We think we’re living righteously, and then God slams us for our actions. He quickly deconstructs our worldview, calling into question our ethics, our way of being, our lifestyles. Why? Because even if we don’t think we’re breaking any rules, we might be living by our own choices rather than Yahweh’s will—and that is disobedience. The story of the Rechabites demonstrates this point.
Yahweh had requested that the Rechabites shun alcohol and live in tents, so they did. They obeyed this request until Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah, which they inhabited with the rest of God’s people. Then Yahweh sent them one final test: He asked His prophet, Jeremiah, to prompt them to drink wine. They resisted—and passed the test (Jer 35:1–11).
The Rechabites’ obedience stands as a model that shows the actions of the rest of God’s people reprehensible by comparison. Yahweh remarks to Jeremiah, “Go and say to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Can you not learn a lesson to listen to my words?’ declares Yahweh. ‘The words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, that he commanded his descendants to not drink, have been carried out, and they have not drunk until this day, for they have obeyed the command of their ancestor. But I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened to me’ ” (Jer 35:13–14). God’s people had disobeyed Him by seeking other gods and committing other sins, but this line hints at the deeper problem: They had not carried out Yahweh’s basic commandment to listen to His will.
God’s people thought they were in the right. They believed they were behaving correctly. But in reality, they had disobeyed His basic commandments and then disobeyed His very will. Are you, like God’s people, living in disillusionment, failing to acknowledge that you’re living outside of God’s will?
Ask yourself: “Am I really on the right track? Is this really God’s will, or is it the manifestation of a false belief about my obedience that I’m creating?”
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.