Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 9:45 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Jeremiah 35:1-16 (NASB).
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, “Go to the house of the Rechabites and speak to them, and bring them into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink.” Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons and the whole house of the Rechabites, and I brought them into the house of the Lord, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan the son of Igdaliah, the man of God, which was near the chamber of the officials, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the doorkeeper. Then I set before the men of the house of the Rechabites pitchers full of wine and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine!”
But they said, “We will not drink wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall not drink wine, you or your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, and you shall not sow seed and you shall not plant a vineyard or own one; but in tents you shall dwell all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, not to drink wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; and we do not have vineyard or field or seed. We have only dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and have done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come and let us go to Jerusalem before the army of the Chaldeans and before the army of the Arameans.’ So we have dwelt in Jerusalem.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the Lord. “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink wine to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me. Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending them again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me. Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”’
The Rechabites belonged to the Kenites who were with the children of Israel as they entered the Promised Land (Wikipedia). According to Encyclopedia Britannica, they were an Israelite sect. “They were fervent followers of Yahweh, the God of Israel.” According to International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Rechabites were a part of the tribe of Kenite who “joined the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings.” They became identified with the tribe of Judah. The father of the Rechabites was Jehonadab, who was a “zealous Yahweh-worshiper.” He was instrumental in the removal of Baal worship. He led his family into a simple nomadic lifestyle “in order to guard against the enervating tendencies of sensualism, and as a covenant of fidelity to Yahweh, to whom they wholly devoted themselves when they joined themselves with Israel” (bibleencyclopedia.com).
God used the Rechabites as a model for his people to follow, not necessarily that they should all abstain from wine and live like nomads, but as a model of fidelity and obedience, and of the honoring of their “father.” The Rechabites did not drink wine because their forefather Jehonadab commanded them not to drink wine. They lived in tents because their forefather commanded them to live in tents. Evidently this continued for about 300 years (Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary). The people evidently were faithful to God and to their ancestor(s).
Obey His Words
God/Jesus Christ demands obedience, not sinless perfection, but that we take up our cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him (Lu. 9:23-25). His word teaches us that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue to conduct our lives according to our flesh (walk in darkness), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). Jesus said that his sheep know his voice, he knows them, and they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him. They have eternal life, and no one can snatch them out of the hand of God (Jn. 10:4, 27-30). Jesus said that if anyone keeps (obeys) his word, that he will never see death (Jn. 8:51). He said that if anyone loves him, he will keep his word (Jn. 14:23-24). John said the way we know that we have come to know him is if we keep his word (1 Jn. 2:3-6). “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them” (1 Jn. 3:24). “This is love for God: to obey his commands” (1 Jn. 5:3). James said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (Jas. 1:22). He said, “Faith without deeds is dead” (Jas. 2:26).
Turn from Sin
Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Lu. 5:32). He said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lu. 13:3). He said, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations…” (Lu. 24:46-47). Peter said, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Ac. 3:19). Paul said, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Co. 7:10). And, Peter said, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). This repentance, though literally meaning a change of mind, is most always seen in scripture in connection with turning from sin, forsaking idols, and following God in obedience. Paul’s mission was to open blinded eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they would receive forgiveness of sins (Ac. 26:16-18).
Reform Your Actions
The way in which we come to know Christ is by putting off our old way of living for sin and self, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and putting on our new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (2 Co. 5:15). His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14). We, who are in Christ Jesus by God’s grace, through faith, died with Christ to sin, so how can we live in it any longer? Our old self was crucified with Christ so that we would no longer be slaves to sin, but so we would be servants of his righteousness. When we were slaves to sin, we were free from the control of righteousness. Thus, we should count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Ro. 6:1-23).
Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. If we persist in conducting our lives according to the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (Ro. 8:1-14). Because of God’s great mercy to us, we are to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable service of worship of him. We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in the renewing of our minds so that we may give testimony by our lives of God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (Ro. 12:1-2).
No Other Gods
And, we are not to follow other gods to serve them. “Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 Jn. 5:21). An idol can be anything we give our hearts, devotion, loyalty, passion, time, affection and attention to over and above God, or in place of God. An idol could be ourselves and our own selfish desires, entertainment, games, TV, movies, recreation, relaxation, careers, hobbies, sports, religious activities, people, computers, smart phones, and the like. It could be food, eating, exercise, our possessions, properties, houses, and automobiles, our schedules, control over our own lives, and pride, too. If it takes the place of God in our affections, attention, time and passion, it is most likely an idol in our lives. Scripture teaches us that we are not to love (take pleasure in, long for) the world, or the things of the world. If we love the things of the world, with the kind of love we should have for God, choosing what the world chooses, instead of what God chooses for us, God’s love is not in us (1 Jn. 2:15). Do we not know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? If we choose to be a friend of this sinful world, we become an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4).
So, we need to listen to our Lord, hear what he is saying, and obey him. We died with Christ to sin. How can we live in it any longer?
To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture
Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.
Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.
Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!
When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.