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Oh Jeremiah…you never disappoint….


Oh guys…I have to share this with you or I will burst. 

I know I have read these passages before, because my Bible was all marked up with them. But every time I read this I just get goose bumps so here is the story. 

All through the book of Jeremiah, God has him do kind of odd and unusual things that carry a lesson and message for the people of Israel. In chapter 35, God has Jeremiah prepare a banquet in a very public setting in the Temple and invite a group of people who have recently arrived in Jerusalem from the country areas. 

They are called the Recabites, and they are a family of metal workers who live as nomads. The commentary from Eugene Peterson helps explain that they are descended from a man named Jonadab son of Recab. The art of metal work was full of skills and knowledge that this family guarded carefully. The entire focus for generations had been solely on mining ore, refining into metal and shaping into weapons, tools and chariots. 

This meant no farming or settling dow as they moved to wherever the resources and work were located. They were careful about who they let into the family through marriage and they did not drink wine because as Peterson points out, even in the Middle East in Jeremiah’s time….loose lips sink ships. 

So God has Jeremiah set up the dining table with not only a meal, but also goblets and vessels of wine. To which the Recabites say, no thank you. When asked why they will not partake, they simply state that their ancestor, Jonadab commanded them  and our children to never drink wine.

Now this is not a teaching on abstinence from alcohol. This is message for the people of God in Jeremiah’s time about obedience. God speaks to His people and points out that this family has followed the directives of their founding father throughout the generations and even in this time when they have had to flee from their nomadic life and seek shelter inside the city walls of Jerusalem. 

He questions the Israelites…if they can be obedient through all these generations, why can’t you? 

Peterson ends his commentary on this portion of the book of Jeremiah with words that resonate with me in this day and age. We are living in times of great violence, upheaval and conflict. 

He points out that the Recabites had lived in obedience to Jonadab’s command for 250 years and the sudden friendship with the people of Jerusalem didn’t change that. They didn’t worry about offending their host and benefactor. 

We are called to be in the world, but not of the world and Peterson’s words give me a call to action that I want to pass along to you:

“The essence of Jeremiah’s message was: ‘The Recabites are ordinary, mortal human beings, and they’ve been living in obedience for 250 years. You also have a way of life that requires certain disciplines to maintain its character. The disciplines involve your decisions about the way you live: worshiping regularly, being faithful in prayer, tithing, caring for the poor, living morally and pursuing righteousness.’”

“Jeremiah raised weighty questions about our unreflective way of going about our well-defined jobs – jobs that become lives shaped and sanctioned by the crowd. Any time we turn over part of our lives to the crowd, we become less human, less alive. On the other hand, every time we retrieve a part of our lives from the crowds and respond to God’s call to us, we’re that much more ourselves, more human. Every time we reject the habits of the crowd and practice  the disciplines of faith, we become a little more alive.” 

Eugene Peterson, The Message commentary on Jeremiah 35

I used to say to our teenagers…look at the what the world is doing and what you are doing? Are you looking more like the world than a follower of Christ? 

And then I would have to turn the magnifying glass back on myself as God would ask me the same question. 

It is not hard to follow the crowd these days. 

They are loud and persuasive and almost bullying. 

The world is no longer inviting us to join in, it is threatening us not to. 

Please review the list of things Jeremiah reminded the people of God marked them as characteristically different:

Worshiping regularly

Being faithful in prayer


Caring for the poor

Living morally

Pursuing righteousness

Think of the Recabites today when you are invited to partake in some kind of activity or conversation or argument or agenda or entertainment and weigh your choices based on your obedience to God, not on the habits of the crowd. 

Bless you…please forgive typos…read for common sense til I can edit. 

You are precious…live well <3

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