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Monday, August 1, 2016

You Do What You Want To Do (Jeremiah 35:16)

"The descendants of Jonadab son of Recab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me."

The LORD told Jeremiah to invite the Recabites to a wine tasting event in one of the side rooms of the temple. They came but they did not drink. Their forefather forbade them from drinking wine and living in permanent housing and for generations they walked in the ways of their forefather. The Lord uses this living drama to contrast the Recabites obedience with Israel's disobedience. The Recabites are an object lesson of obedience. 

Honoring their forefather in something as simple as not drinking wine and as difficult as living a nomadic life, the Recabites put the children of Israel to shame for their worship of idols and intermarrying with those around them. Compared to the Recabite's shunning wine and living in tents how easy it should have been for Israel to honor the LORD in worship and in marriage. It's not like the LORD was asking too much from them! Stay married to your own wife. Worship the Maker of heaven and earth. All God required from Israel was simple obedience. 

This story teaches us that really, you do what you want to do. Israel simply did not want to worship the LORD her true God. She wanted license, not liberty. True freedom honors God. License says "I can do whatever I want and I shouldn't have to suffer any consequences."

This story teaches us also that both price and reward accompany obedience. The Recabites were rewarded for their faithful and costly obedience to their forefather (35:19), just as the LORD would have rewarded the children of Israel, "Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they went backward and not forward" (Jeremiah 7:23-24). Obedience leads forward while disobedience moves backwards. Your choice. Choose obedience. 

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
  • Where does the LORD have Jeremiah proclaim His message and who is his audience?
  • What is his message?
  • What was the original purpose of the temple and what has it become?
(Jeremiah refers to the time in Israel when they were defeated by the Philistines. In response to their defeat they took the ark of the covenant with them into the next battle thinking that because they had the ark with them that they would defeat the Philistines. Not so. The Philistines fought and won, and they captured the ark of the covenant - see 1 Samuel 4.)
  • Why does God refuse to hear Jeremiah's prayer for the people? What does this tell you about God? prayer?
  • What has God promised them that He would do for the people if they obeyed him? (verses 23-24 are important verses to commit to memory)
  • What does God command Jeremiah to do in response to the nation's disobedience?
  • How will the judgment of God affect the survivors?
Jeremiah 11 (Jeremiah refers to the obedience and blessing/disobedience and cursing in Deuteronomy 28. Take the time to read that chapter and make a two column list of the consequences of obedience and disobedience.)
  • In this message what event does Jeremiah remind the people of?
  • What is the consequence of persistent disobedience?
  • Is there some area in your life that God has spoken to you more than once about?
  • What does God call the people or compare them to when He birthed them as a nation?
  • What reason does God give for bringing disaster to the house of Judah and Israel?
Jeremiah 15
  • What is Jeremiah's response to the Lord's anger with His people's disobedience?
  • How does God describe Jeremiah's relationship with the the house of Judah?
Jeremiah 22:18-23
  • What does God announce regarding Johoaikim's future and why?
  • Look at the time Divided Kingdom timeline in front of your Bible and mark the place of his rule, noting how close they are to the judgment of God.
Jeremiah 35
  • What reason does the Recabite's give in their refusal to drink wine?
  • Why does Jeremiah use the Recabites as an example?
  • How are the Recabites rewarded for their obedience?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to burn Jeremiah 7:23-24 in your heart.