Episode 75 - Learning from the Rechabites how to live set apart
In this week’s episode, we're still looking at Old Testament stories and seeing how it relates to Romans 8, one of the most beloved books of the Bible, full of amazing promises of the cross.
After an interesting introduction story about AJ not being allowed to wear pants or jeans as a kid, Jen and AJ introduce us to the story of the week: the Rechabites - from Jeremiah chapter 35!
For those here who don’t know, let us give you a bit of background.
The Rechabites were nomads. They ended up in Jerusalem after the Babylonian situation. God told Jeremiah to invite all the Rechabites into Jerusalem and entertain them. When Jeremiah invited them, he offered wine for his “guests”. But they refused because they were told by their ancestors not to do that. They were told not to drink wine and not to build houses or have vineyards.
So the rule was, “Don't drink wine.” This was not a rule from God per se, but one that was passed down from previous generations.
God used their obedience to this rule to contrast between the Rechabites and his own people. On one hand, these people were listening to their forefathers for hundreds of years, and yet His very people, to who He had shown His strength time after time, are not heeding His word.
The Rechabites were tested by Jeremiah when he offered them wine. They passed the test and God used them as an example.
Romans 8: 12-13 says,
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
What is being laid before us is that because of everything we have been given in Christ and because we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as believers, we are under obligation, but it is not to live according to the flesh. It's to live according to the Spirit that dwells within us and is giving us life, which He is enabling us to live the life we should live.
We should see parallels to this Old Testament story that we just read because in the Old Testament, those Rechabites lived under obligation to a command given by one of their forefathers two, 300 years prior. But here we are as New Testament believers. We have the spirit of God. We've been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We also are under obligation. We are under an obligation to submit to the Spirit of God who lives within us.
We have the benefit of the cross and the Holy Spirit to help us with this. Thinking about this example in the Old Testament and how challenging and difficult it must have been and how steadfast these people were in their obedience provides an example of what can be. However, we don't have to just pull our bootstraps up and do it … because we have Christ in us. And even if we do fail, like taking this analogy to the extreme, we do drink the wine that we were told by our forefathers not to drink…even if we do fail if we are trusting in the power of Christ on the cross, we can rest in the fact that he paid the price and the penalty for our sin.
When we are trusting in Christ, we are living in the spirit, and yet we are given commands, we are given things to do that can only be done by Christ living in us.
As believers, we have something so much more powerful than rules and the law. The law points out what's right and wrong, but what it is not able to do is empower us to live accordingly.
We have something so much more powerful than just the law because we have the spirit of God, which indwells us. He is giving life to our mortal bodies.
Rechabites are an example to us. They said no to cultural norms. They had to give up land ownership and certain other things in order to obey the commands of their forefathers. And that's what it is for us as life of a believer too. We have to say, yes, I'm going to follow Christ, and that means I'm gonna come out from the world and I'm gonna be separate.
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