Vs. 1, “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah.” This is interesting to note because the events in this chapter occurred 18 years earlier. It was as if Jeremiah was reflecting upon the current state of God’s people and recalled this event to share it with others. We are reminded of the people called the Recabites. They were descandants of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro and for over 250 years, they lived in tents, did not farm and never drank wine. God would command Jeremiah to invite them to have wine. God did not do this to tempt them, rather to use them as a positive example for us. The Recabites made a vow not to drink wine because of their forefather Jonadab son of Recab. Here were people for over two hundred years they still followed the command of their descandant. Yet, God’s people were getting direct commands and still were not obeying.
Regarding application…Obedience to God. Vs. 16, “The descendants of Jonadab son of Recab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.” SMH (Shaking my head)…learned that one from Facebook. How sad that the Recabites put to shame those who have heard God’s commands. Don’t we see this played out presently? A successful coach commands his team not to drink, not to stay out late, to excercise, get good grades…and all of the players obey. Yet, a Pastor/Youth Pastor encourages his students to read God’s word and pray and not even 33% of the students will turn to God that week. Brothers & sisters this should not be. We have other religions in our modern-time that put us to shame. The Mormon church tithes what they are asked and they are financially well off, but our churches today barely tithe what we should. The Isalmic faith is very diligent in their prayers daily, yet we think it’s a good week if we do half of our QT’s. God used the Recabites as an indictment towards us. It’s time to be obedient to God in all things.
Vs. 15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” AMEN! This is one of the many reasons why we read His Word…so that we always have a response to give with love & gentleness. Christian women should remember that beauty comes from the inside, not the exterior (Vs. 2-4). Christian men should treat their wives with gentle love and honor (Vs. 7). We also are reminded of the word we don’t like to hear, but it is one all Christians must come to grip with…”suffering.” Anybody can suffer for doing wrong, but Christians must learn to suffer for doing what is right. Of course, Jesus is the example for us to follow.
Regarding application…Responding To Insults. Vs. 9, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” Peter encourages Christians to act and respond like Jesus. He endured suffering and ridicule without a vindicative response. There is a contrast between our natural tendency as human beings, to get even when we are offended versus with the way we should act as believers. Now…for a little “context” lesson…who are those whom Peter is admonishing us not to repay evil with evil? Look no further than Vs. 8…Peter was not addressing some evil Roman pagan empire or the false prophets and teachers…Peter was addressing those who belonged to the family of God. Christians were paying evil for evil towards each other…the ramifications are obvious. If the outside world saw Christians treating each other like this…than what would be the point of church if they act just like the rest of the world? Unfortunately, this same exhortation exists for us today. Most of us have probably been a part of a church split or seeing congregations get rid of Pastors etc… It’s moments like these that we see the church not practicing true love from Christ. Let us throw off that attitude like we deserve something and remember that if Jesus the very Son of God could humble himself before His own creation…than we could surely humble ourselves with each other.
Vs. 23, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” Peter exhorts us all on how to live in this crazy world. We have hope we hold onto that literally is “living” and grows (Vs. 3)…not just a living, but also a lasting hope! This hope leads to faith…a faith that is not tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Hope also should lead us to live a life of holiness (Vs. 13-21). Such a simple word, but so hard to live by. Holiness means to live “set apart” from the world. Remember, if we are not “set apart” from the world, that means we are putting the world first and that translates into “hatred towards God.” Let’s let God’s enduring Word change these wretched hearts of ours.\
Regarding application…How are Christians to Love? Vs. 22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Answer: Love deeply from the heart! Question: How do we love sincerely and deeply? Answer: Obey God’s Word/Truth! Do you see where this is going? We cannot love sincerely & deeply if we are not rooted in God’s Word! We may be able to grasp a little of what love is…but in order to live and love the church & its people…we must first walk daily with Jesus. We cannot seperate obedience & love. It’s preposterous to hear some Christians talk about modern day “Legalism” and how we should just love each other. This life is not a “free pass” to Heaven when it comes to life on earth before eternity! We are called to take up the cross of suffering & shame. Question: Are you loving your brothers & sisters deeply?