October 20, 2018
THE JEHONADAB PROMISE
Jehonadab the Recabite was descended from the Kenites, the family of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (See 1 Chron. 2:55). The Kenites moved with the “children of Judah into the Wilderness of Judah, which lies in the South near Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people” (Judges 1:16). Jehonadab commanded his children and their descendants, “You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land” (Jer. 35:6-7). Centuries later, the prophet Jeremiah learned that the Recabites were still keeping Jehonadab’s command. But what of his promise and what of the promise of God upon his house?
Jehonadab’s promise was that if his children obeyed him, they would live long and good lives in the land. This is simply a restatement of the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex. 20:12). So, Jehonadab’s promise was built on the principle of God’s commandment.
But what of God’s additional promise to Jehonadab’s children, that they “will always have descendants who serve me”? The 4th century historian, Eusebius, wrote that when the Jews were stoning James the Just, brother of Jesus, one of the sons of Rehab cried out, saying, “Stop! What are you doing?” Clarke, in his commentary, wrote, “Some suppose that the Essenes, in our Lord’s time, were literally Rechabite’ descendants and that these were they who followed our Lord particularly, and became the first converts to the Gospel.” While both of these reports are unsubstantiated, I believe that there must be a descendent of Jehonadab living and serving the Lord today, because He promised it.
When each of my children left home to go to college, I wrote them a letter, asking them to abstain from alcohol. I quoted this command and promise from Jehonadab in the letter. They agreed to obey their father’s command. I pray that the promise of Jehonadab and the promise of God, would be on my children and my children’s children. Not because they are teetotalers, but because they honor their father and mother, and more than that, they honor God.