Jeremiah 35:18-19 And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.
I love this passage. I think a small part of this is because I can relate with the Rechabites in a little bit, and am thankful for it. Jeremiah tells us that years earlier, Jonadab, Rechab’s father, had commanded his children to do some things that were “different”. They were counter-culture. They were higher standards. These weren’t necessarily things that were unlawful, but they were given in wisdom. They were given for the sake of generations to come. I’m sure that some shook their head. I’m sure that some thought they were odd. I’m sure that some made comments or shook their heads. But not God. God was well pleased that generations of men took the high road that their father had left them to take. And he chose to devote a chapter in the Bible to this family. In fact, in the verses above, he makes them a wonderful promise because of their adherence to their father’s commandments and precepts. And when the Babylonians came in and pillaged, killed, burned, and destroyed, these men and their families were safe.
I’m a second generation Christian from a very conservative family. My father reminds me of Jonadab. Growing up, there were things that my dad “commanded” us and our family to live by, to do and not to do, that were outside the norm in mainstream society. In fact, some of what he asked of us was outside the norm in mainstream Christianity. It was, in fact, counter-culture. We didn’t have a tv growing up. We didn’t do sleepovers. We were guarded against the influences of the world. We were given a different identity that the average American would think is normal, and the list can go on. But looking back, I’m so glad that my dad was willing to take the high road with our family, and that he challenged us to do the same. Three of us are married, and to this day, by God’s grace, we follow many of these “precepts” in our own homes. But we’re not done. We’re only at the front end of rearing our families, and have a long way to go. My prayer this morning is that we’d continue in the way our dad left for us. The fruit has been good so far. But I pray that it would continue for generations to come, as we pass down the “commandments” and precepts that he gave us to the next generation. I can only imagine the impact that can be made if we do so.