This morning, I came to Jeremiah 35 in my devotional reading. I’ve been reading through Jeremiah and I Thessalonians simultaneously, and I must admit that I typically go into my quiet times expecting to “get more” out of my New Testament chapters. But today was different. I couldn’t recall ever having read it before, but the story of the Recabites was really interesting. Isn’t this so very applicable to our lives as Christians today? How often do we see “good” people (or even not-so-good people) so dedicated to what they do, whether it be a charity, a sports team, or their job? There’s definitely nothing wrong with this. . . but why are they often so much more dedicated than the majority of Christians are to God? It’s particularly thought-provoking when you realize that their efforts and works are totally useless.
So the question that came to mind was this – why am I, as a Christian, such a slacker? Why do I continually come up with excuses for why I’m not as sold-out to God as He asks me to be? I say to myself so often, “Well, I’m just too busy.” Doesn’t the word too in that sentence indicate a need for change, a realization that something is wrong with the way I live my life? If I’m to busy to be obeying God, then something’s up. And when I say “obeying God,” I’m not really sure what I mean – I guess everything, from the command to spread the Gospel, to His desire that we be holy, as He is.
But see, here’s the other thing that I thought of. Simply thinking, “Oh, I need to go do so that I can be obeying God!” isn’t the point. Rushing around and doing good things, regardless of how much they might serve God, is not what God wants from us. Check this out – His very words: "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem, 'Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?' declares the LORD.” (vs. 13) He was ticked off at His chosen people, and I would have been too! I mean, they had the Living God to serve, the great I AM, giving them commands – these Recabites were following what a dead ancestor had told them to do! Hello?
So what does God want? Why was He upset with His people? It comes down to relationship. Our God is a jealous God – the Israelites were following idols, and being sold out to other things besides Him. They were placing anything and everything before their relationship with God. Sound familiar? God desires us, wholly and completely. Now the real question: What am I going to do about it? In what ways am I letting those un-believers around me “outshine” me in their dedication to what they believe in? How can I change that, not by simply doing for the sake of doing, but developing a relationship with Him that drives me to obedience?