Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “The words of Jonadab, son of Rechab, have been carried out. He commanded his descendants not to drink wine, and they have not drunk to this day because they have obeyed their ancestor’s command. But I have spoken to you time and time again, and you have not obeyed me!” Jeremiah 35:14 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The Word of God is our standard and guide.”
The Rechabites were a clan in ancient Israel during the days of Jeremiah who had the odd habit of not drinking wine. I say it was an “odd” habit because in those days everyone drank wine. Not so much to become intoxicated, but simply because it was the only beverage that could consistently be trusted to be safe to consume. Water and milk were often bad.
However, for some reason one of the ancient patriarchs of the Rechabite clan, a man named Jonadab, had decreed that his descendants were to refrain from consuming wine. All of the generations since then had honored that decree and refraining from consuming wine had become a sacred tradition which they steadfastly adhered to. God’s point in this passage was that the Rechabites were more faithful in obeying their ancestor’s decree than the Jewish people were to obeying God’s commands. But God’s decrees were holy and just and right, and should therefore have been obeyed by His people.
The Apostle Peter makes a similar point in 1 Peter 2:9;12 when he wrote to us Christians, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light … Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles …”
As the people of God, we are to be different than the world around us because we adhere to a different and higher standard of morals and ethics. Our conduct is governed by God’s dictates and principles as given to us in the Bible rather than by cultural norms. As was noted yesterday, we are not to simply go along with the group-think trends of the culture around us. The Bible is our standard of truth. The rightness or wrongness of anything is measured against what God has said, not what the culture says, and we then structure our conduct accordingly.
This is called having a Biblical worldview and there is much more that needs to be said about it. Therefore, we will come back to this subject again tomorrow, and as an example of how cultural group-think often conflicts with God’s Word, we’ll consider the issue of divorce.