Faithfulness: strict or thorough in the performance of duty. True to one’s word, promises, vows, etc. Steady allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: reliable, trusted, or believed.
I’m reading through the book of Jeremiah right now. Wow, what a life this prophet of God lived! His ministry began with these words, “Oh Lord, behold, I cannot speak: for I am but a child.”. How mightily God used him though, despite what he thought, because he was faithful to speak the words of the Most High – and His words alone.
Jeremiah’s life is an incredible read, but there’s another example of faithfulness in this book that greatly impressed me as well – the story of the house of the Rechabites. The full version can be found in the 35th chapter of Jeremiah.
The Lord told Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites to the House of Yahweh and give them wine to drink. Jeremiah did as he was commanded to do and set pots full of wine and cups before the whole house of the Rechabites and said unto them, “Drink ye wine”.
At first glance, this is an odd command. However, the Bible is full of examples of God testing the faithfulness of His people, so it’s not as odd as it appears. This was a test for the Rechabites. It doesn’t seem like a very hard test, in my mind, but then I wonder. Jeremiah was a well known man of God. If a prophet of Yahweh told me to do something, I imagine I would think twice about it before telling him “No”. The Bible doesn’t give us details, but it doesn’t sound like the Rechabites had any such dilemma.
“We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, ‘Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever.’… Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters…We have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.”
This answer makes me want to weep. What if we, as a people, were that faithful and obedient to the words of our forefathers?
Today it’s cool to be different. To leave behind all the “old-fashioned morals”, commands, and words of wisdom passed down by our ancestors. We are “smarter” now, and don’t have as many “hang-ups” as our relatives before us did.
Apparently, many of the Israelites had this same attitude. Yahweh sent Jeremiah to them with these words – words that should have cut them to the heart, and should do the same for us; “Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, ‘Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers’: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.”
The sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto me: Therefore, Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered”.
Why don’t we learn from history? Are we truly doomed to repeat this mistake? Why do we think our way is so much better, even though it’s been proven false over and over again? We have gone after other gods, we have turned a deaf ear to the Word of Yahweh and allowed wickedness to seep into our lives and churches. Our time is not God’s – or even our own, as we have sold ourselves as slaves to the modern culture. Our lives are cluttered with worldly entertainment, trivial conversation, and sensuous, selfish diversions. The busier we are, the better, because it leaves less time to think about what really matters in life. So we shut out God – not on purpose perhaps, but there’s not a chance that we’ll hear Him over all this racket.
We must tune out and turn off in order to hear Him again. We must set our faces like flint and know where we stand as the Rechabites did. We can not allow doubts to creep in and cause us to waver in our faithfulness!
Where is the faithful generation? Where is the generation that will stand in steady allegiance to the One True God and be loyal, constant, and reliable keepers of His Word?
The Rechabites were honored for their obedience and faithfulness to carry out their father’s commands.
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, Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.”
This verse excites me. Yahweh blessed the house of Rechab with a line of descendants that will continue throughout history. That means you might have a Rechabite for a neighbor! And all because of the faithfulness of their forefathers. If the Rechabites were rewarded in this way for obedience to their earthly father, imagine the reward for those who are faithful to the Lord of Hosts!
We have a trust passed down to us and written on our hearts. Let us be “thorough in the performance of duty” – diligent in passing on the Words of our Father and stressing the importance of obeying His every command.
When we are tested, I pray that, like the Rechabites, we will not think twice about what to do, but do what is right, fearlessly and faithfully. I pray that we will be the faithful generation – the generation that will stand in steadfastness and steady allegiance to the One True God!