Jeremiah Index

Jeremiah Chapter 35


  • Jeremiah 35:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,
  • 2 Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.

God uses demonstrations and examples to teach truths. Here he uses a faithful family who were obedient to their father's commands.

A Dr Wolff found a tribe of people in 1839 who claimed to be descendants of the Rechabites. They lived near the Dead Sea in Abrabia.

  • Jeremiah 35:3 Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites;
  • 4 And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door:
  • 5 And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine.
  • 6 But they said, 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:

They refused the offer of wine, not fearing that they might offend those that gave them wine to drink. What an example of obedience.

This should be our attitude to God's word. We should obey that word without fearing who we might offend. There are times when we must choose to obey God's word rather than please those that live around us.

There are other times when God by His spirit may reveal something to us as individuals that is causing us problems and we may have to give up something in our lives that is not necessarily a "Thus says the Lord" commandment but it is something that is a weakness in us and may be hurting us. So we obey the Lord and give the thing up. In that particular case, we don't impose this on anyone one else. It might not be causing them problems. In other words we judge ourselves in what we allow but unless the word of God is specific, we don't use our own experience to place guilt or force restrictions on others. 

An example. God may impress one person to give up a certain sport because it was becoming an obsession in his or her life whereas another person can indulge in the same thing and be okay with it. They can take it or leave it, no big deal. Our temptation sometimes is to assume if God reveals something is wrong for us, we assume it is wrong for everyone and began to judge our brothers and sisters in the Lord if they feel free to go ahead and do the thing we are convicted over. Let us stick to the word when it comes to others but listen to the spirit of God's direction in our own lives as we begin to seek His will for us as individuals.

  • Jeremiah 35:7 Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.
  • 8 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;
  • 9 Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed:
  • 10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.

I wonder about the reason for these types of commandments but there must have been a reason at one time that their ancestor imposing this type of lifestyle on his descendants. Just my conjecture here but perhaps he was teaching them to rely totally on the Lord. Perhaps they were nomads and staying in one place would not suit them. Perhaps they were to be a help to those along the way that might need some kind of service. Perhaps they also was just mindful of better things to come in eternity. Who knows?

I personally like roots and to live in a house. I never cared for camping at least long term, so this wouldn't suit me but some people like that type of living. So if someone came along and tried to impose their desires on me, it wouldn't work too well. One good thing though, the upkeep on that kind of living would be much cheaper.

  • Jeremiah 35:11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.
  • 12 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
  • 13 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD.
  • 14 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.

God was using the Rechabites as an example to Judah, asking them why the Rechabites had no trouble keeping the commandment of their ancestor but the children of Israel and Judah could not and would not listen to the Lord's commandments. The ancestor of the Rechabites who required them to abstain from wine and live in tents were not even living any longer yet they faithfully obeyed this earthly father's commandment.

Now I wouldn't like the tent part of Rechab's commandment but the wine part would suit me fine. I don't allow that stuff in my house.  However, I don't want to get away from the reason the Lord brought this out for Jeremiah to speak about.

Judah and Israel however, had a heavenly Father who was still present with them and who had delivered them from many enemies bringing them into the land they were dwelling in but they did not obey their Father's commands as the Rechabites did.

  • Jeremiah 35:15 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.

They continually went after other gods and served the gods that were not really gods. They forsook the living God for an idol who could do neither good nor evil. The demonic spirits that accompany idol worship can do much evil within them. 

  • Jeremiah 35:16 Because 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:
  • 17 Therefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel; 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.
  • 18 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:
  • 19 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 believe this prophecy to be true and there is probably descendants of this tribe of people existing somewhere today in the Middle East that are living at peace. I'm even going to venture a guess that they are not involved in the Middle East conflict as the other people are.

I see here a trait that God loves to see in His people. That is obedience. First of all there has to be faith or a belief in God and what God says. We can't obey God unless we first believe in Him and then have faith in Him. The family of the Rechabites had to believe in what they were taught down through the centuries and they obeyed what they were taught.

I can just hear the voices of protest today shouting, "Legalism." However legalism is something we impose on people that have nothing to do with God's actual commandments for a particular group of people. It is not doing things or giving up things with a willing heart. Whatever they had God rewarded them with a promise that they would not die out as a people and that there would always be descendants of the Rechabites alive somewhere.

We may not understand why God makes some of the commandments that He does and why some things are forbidden by the commandments, but our attitude should always be, "If God says it, I will obey it." I've seen much rebellion against the word of God today and many try to change what God originally said.

Remember the serpent in the garden of Eden? When the serpent tried to get Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit, he used the same method. He tried to change what God said.

  • Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?   
  • 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 
  • 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 
  • 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 
  • 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Satan tried to just put a very small twist to what God actually said. It was so slight and hardly noticeable.

Getting back to the heart of God though, we see that God desires obedience.

  • Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

To obey God is to invite blessings and spiritual strength. Obedience makes us God's peculiar treasure. Israel could have been and will be in the future, one of the greatest, strongest nations on the whole planet if they would have only obeyed God from the beginning of their existence. 

  • Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 
  • 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: 
  • 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. 

What an insult to God when we have known Him and then turn away from Him to serve a god that is not really God.

  • 1Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Samuel once told King Saul that God is pleased more with obedience that the sacrifice of burnt offerings.

Obedience is still the right way in the New Testament. To obey the gospel of Jesus Christ is to inherit eternal life. Obedience is necessary for our salvation.

  1. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

God shows us through Christ a more excellent way than our own will power. He gives us life, He gives us His Holy Spirit and His written word to lead us into the right kind of obedience.

  • Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 
  • 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 
  • 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 
  • 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

As children we sang a song about the wise man building his house upon the rock.

  • Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

God sends His word but its up to us to choose whom to obey.

  • 1Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 
    18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

God holds us accountable first before pouring out judgment upon the unbelievers.

  • Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

In the days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches that the Holy Ghost is given to those who obey Him, meaning God. To obey meant to believe in the one God sent for our salvation and that is Jesus Christ. 

Everything in the Old Testament and the New Testament rests on believing, receiving and obeying God. You want to please God, obey the word. Simple as that.

Jeremiah 36