Summary: If you were pressed to compromise your convictions or the commitments you have made to God would you have the courage to stand by those commitments and your convictions? The Rechabites provide an example for us to follow.
COMMITMENT ON TRIAL
Introduction: If you were pressed to compromise your convictions or the commitments you have made to God would you have the courage to stand by those commitments and your convictions? Dan Yeary in “Proclaim” speaks of those who make commitments that are only half commitments. He states, “‘Half commitment’ is spouting pious words about submission while resisting all authority. ‘Half commitment’ is justifying everything you want to do because, if you were God, you would let you do it. In Jeremiah, we read of a people who when tested stood by a commandment given and a commitment made by an ancestor over 250 years before they were even born. They provide an example for us who claim to be committed to Christ and His Word.
I. The History of the Rechabites
A. Jeremiah 35:2 “Go to the house of the Rechabites, speak to them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.”
B. Rechabites — These Rechabites were the descendants Jonadab, the son of Rechab, who was descended from Hemath, a Kenite (of Cain), and Jethro the father-in-law of Moses.
C. Jonadab was a partner of Jehu, king of Israel who fought against Baalism.
D. 2 Kings 10:15-16 (NLT) “When Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab, who was coming to meet him. After they had greeted each other, Jehu said to him, “Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?” “Yes, I am,” Jehonadab replied. “If you are,” Jehu said, “then give me your hand.” So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu helped him into the chariot. Then Jehu said, “Now come with me, and see how devoted I am to the Lord.” So Jehonadab rode along with him.”
E. Jonadab shared the zeal Jehu had for the Lord and left a spiritual legacy and a covenantal foundation for his descendants to follow.
F. Jeremiah 35:6-7 “But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’”
1. They were not to drink wine –
a. Jonadab knew the effects of wine. Jonadab knew that drinking of wine held with it the possibility of dulling their sensitivity to the Lord and could very easily lead to sin.
b. Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby (intoxicated by it) is not wise.”
c. John MacArthur writes, “Paul also said, "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Cor. 6:12b). Many things become habitual, and many of the habits we form are beneficial. But implied in the idea of wine as an addiction is a pattern creating a negative response. Paul said, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient" (1 Cor. 6:12). He in effect is saying, "There are things I could do, but they would trip me up or entangle me." This passage can aptly be applied to the danger of alcohol addiction. Alcohol has the potential of bringing you under its power. It easily produces an overpowering dependency that distracts one’s attention and interferes with brain and bodily functions. Not only would a Christian want to avoid sin, but also the potential for sin. Food is somewhat similar to wine in its potential for sin. If you cannot control your intake of food, you are in danger of becoming gluttonous. Unlike wine, food is a necessity, but the same principle applies. A good practice is to vary your eating habits and occasionally abstain from food all together to make sure you are in control of what you eat and not vice versa. The Christian is to be controlled by the Spirit, not by ungodly influences that can lead him to sin.” - Living in the Spirit, Be Not Drunk with Wine - Part 3, by John MacArthur
d. The point is that we should never allow ourselves to voluntarily entangle ourselves with the influences of this world, the things that influence our thoughts, speech, and behavior.
e. Romans 12:2a “...do not be conformed to this world”
2. They were not to build houses
a. They were not to see this world as their home.
b. Philippians 3:20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”
c. Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”