Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's not really about wine

[From 10/20/14]

"But I myself have spoken to you persistently, and you have not obeyed me."
(Jeremiah 35:14)

The prophet Jeremiah was the master of object lessons.  One time God called him to be a bartender at a party with the Rechabites (chapter 35).  The Rechabites traded their origins back to Jonadab ben Rechab, who didn't like the way his fellow Israelites started adopting the cultural practices of the neighboring Canaanites (including their propensity to get rip-roaring drunk & act foolish!).  So he decided not to ever own a vineyard (and, of course, not to ever drink wine).  He descendants (& followers) did the same.

So you can imagine what kind of success Jeremiah had when he tried serving drinks to the Rechabites!?!  They politely (but firmly) refused.  They even explained WHY they were refusing.  Then Jeremiah, spurred on by God, asked the Israelites why they couldn't be more like the Rechabites!?!?  "They've done a great job of following a simple command," says God.  "But I've been trying to get you to follow my commands for centuries, and you still IGNORE me!!!"  (ouch!)

We have our own habits & tendencies that we "religiously" follow, don't we?  Friday night = pizza night.  Tailgating before a football game.  Washing hands before dinner, etc.  But do we follow God's call for compassion, justice & faithfulness in our own daily walk?  How quick we are to keep traditions that we want, yet miss the really big stuff God calls us to.  (ouch.)

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