Are We Being Obedient?

“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.” Jeremiah 35:1616Because 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: (Jeremiah 35:16)
There is an interesting story in Jeremiah 35 that we might do well to ponder.
Jeremiah was instructed by the Lord to go to the house of the Rechabites and bring them to the house of the Lord and offer them wine to drink. When they were brought to the temple, bowls of wine were set before them and they were told by Jeremiah to drink wine. We know that wine was commonly used in Old Testament days and it was not wrong for anyone to drink it except for Nazarites.
However, they refused to drink it, explaining that their father Jonadab had commanded them not to. “Ye shall drink no wine, ye nor your sons forever. Neither shall ye build houses, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards  ...  but all your days ye shall dwell in tents, that ye may live many days in the land.” They assured Jeremiah that they had followed all these instructions all their days.
The Lord contrasted their obedience to their father with the disobedience of His own people to Him, their God, in spite of all He had done in speaking to them and sending them prophets to win them back. God instructed Jeremiah to tell His people that He was going to send judgment on them because they had refused to listen to Him and obey Him.
The message Jeremiah was told to deliver to the Rechabites was quite different. “Because you 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 forever.”
What is the lesson for us in this story? Surely it is not to lay restrictions on our children that they must continue to obey throughout their adult years. Perhaps the lesson is simply this — the Lord appreciates and rewards obedience when He finds it and there are surely consequences for refusing to listen to His words to us.
In our case His commandments concern loving one another, forgiving and forbearing with others, laying aside bitterness and anger, etc. We might ask ourselves how we are doing in these areas.
The Rechabites are still in existence today. The Concise Bible Dictionary states that at the time of its publication there were 60,000 of them and that they still live in tents as nomads. Some of them are called Bedouins now. One thing we are certain of from the Word of God: Some of them are “standing before God.”