There are two interesting and contrasting stories in the book of Jeremiah. The first story is about the Rekabite family (pronounce it as you wish), who God used to make a point. Knowing what their response would be God told Jeremiah to invite them to the temple and offer them wine to drink. Happy to respond to Jeremiah’s request they turned up but refused to drink even a drop of wine. One of their ancestors had commanded them to never drink wine, amongst other commands, and they did as commanded. God took their faithfulness as an example for the people of Judah. He said, “Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.” (1)

 

The second story proves God’s point about lack of obedience. This involved a king of Judah, Jehoiakim. God asked Jeremiah to write on a scroll  all the words God had spoken through him, in the hope that when they read it for themselves they would respond positively. It was a man called Baruch who actually wrote it down and the scroll eventually found its way to Jehoiakim. It was winter and he was warming himself by a fire in the company of his officials. Whenever three or four columns of the scroll were read Jehoiakim had them cut off and thrown into the fire. He did this time after time until the whole scroll was burned up. The Bible says of this event, “The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear.” (2) They didn’t care about God’s word or obeying him.

 

The Rekabites were blessed by God who promised that their descendants would serve God continually i.e their family would not be wiped out. Jehoiakim was punished by God. No one from his family would sit as king after him and as for Jehoiakim himself? The Babylonian empire would eventually destroy Jerusalem, but even before the final end it’s said of Jehoiakim, “his body will be thrown out and exposed to the heat by day and the frost by night.” (3)

 

Throughout history men have rejected God and have failed to listen to him. What have been the results of such action? In the old USSR it meant the suffering and death of millions. In Cambodia it meant the killing fields. In China it means the forced enslavement of the Uighurs, brainwashing and mass sterilisation. In North Korea it means abject poverty for the nation and every known Christian being put in a labour camp from which there is no escape. In the Western world it means domestic abuse, paedophilia, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, abortion on demand, gender dysmorphia, major mental health issues and so on.

 

If we lived in a world where God is honoured, and his word is valued, life would be so different. There would be love, kindness, compassion, equity, freedom, respect. No one would be selfish or hateful. No one would seek to rule over others. All would know that our ruler is God alone, the great God of heaven.

 

This is the world God wants for us, even though we have failed him and rebelled against him throughout our history. To give us this world he made the ultimate sacrifice of sacrificing his Son, Jesus, to provide a way out of our sin and rebellion. He only asks that we recognise this sacrifice, acknowledge our sins, accept that Jesus died for us and commit our lives to him. Please note that I say he asks, he doesn’t demand. He leaves it to you to decide. There’s a passage in the Bible that says, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (4)

 

I chose to serve the Lord. Will you?

 

Bible References:

  • Jeremiah 35:14
  • Jeremiah 36:24
  • Jeremiah 36:30
  • Joshua 24:14,15