Tag Archives: Jeremiah 35

“So, You Want a Promotion?”

Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefatherJehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’”
Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NIV)

Once upon a time, I was asked by an executive with one of my company’s clients to mentor a handful of young people with management potential. The executive was looking for my objective insight and assessment regarding the young employees’ fitness for promotion and development.

At one point in the coaching process I asked each of my protegés to complete a certain strategic task. I provided them with instruction and examples. I also offered to assist as they progressed in their work.

One of them set to work, emailing me drafts and asking for my feedback and assistance. The task was completed on time and had already been fruitful in initiating some other positive outcomes in the person’s work. Meanwhile, I had not heard from one of my other charges at all. When we sat down to review the project, this person shrugged and admitted that the task had simply not been done. My charge then went on to explain that there were other important things that took precedent.

Who do you think I recommended for promotion?

Who do you think received a promotion?

It’s a simple word picture of obedience, which is exactly the point of today’s chapter in the prophet Jeremiah’s works. God asks Jeremiah to bring a nomadic clan called the Rekabites to the temple and offer them some wine, knowing that the Rekabites would refuse. For generations the Rekabites’ entire clan shunned wine because their forefather had been promised that God would bless them if they didn’t drink wine or build houses. As expected, the Rekabites politely declined the wine offered them.

Jeremiah then uses this simple example of obedience as a foundational word picture for his message to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. The simple obedience of one nomadic clan contrasted with the countless prophetic messages God had sent to the people of Judah promising them blessing if only they would stop their worship of local pagan dieties. They continually refused.

This morning I’m reminded of the prophet Samuel’s words to King Saul when Saul flatly disobeyed God’s simple command that a King was not to offer sacrifices (only a priest should do that):

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king.”

Simple command. Simple obedience.

This morning in the quiet I’m taking stock of my own thoughts, words, relationships, and actions. Are there areas of simple, willful disobedience in my life?

I have often observed in this chapter-a-day journey that, unlike today’s educational system, God doesn’t just promote us to the next grade level until we’ve learned the lessons in the stage we’re in.

Are there places in which simple disobedience is keeping me from getting a promotion?

Chapter-a-Day Jeremiah 35

Then, turning to the Recabite community, Jeremiah said, “And this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says to you: Because you have done what Jonadab your ancestor told you, obeyed his commands and followed through on his instructions, receive this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: There will always be a descendant of Jonadab son of Recab at my service! Always!'” Jeremiah 35:18-19 (MSG)

Over the past ten years, I’ve gone through a workbook called The Artist’s Way three different times. Twice I’ve gone through it with groups and I went through the material once by myself.  It’s been over four years since I last went through the book. Toward the end of 2010, I felt a strong prompting deep in my spirit that I was supposed to take up The Artist’s Way once more and do the daily ritual of “morning pages” prescribed.

A few weeks into 2011, I was invited to join with a few other men in a weekly study based on The Artist’s Way for ten weeks. The leader of the group had been prompted to get a small group of men together for the study and felt led to ask me to be a part of it. Coincidence? In our first meeting, I learned that another man in the group had gone through The Artist’s Way a few years ago and had received the same prompting I had to take up his morning pages and strike out on the path once more at the beginning of 2011. Synchronicity.

I was reading today’s chapter and scratching my head to understand what God’s very specific prompting to Jonadab and his descendants was all about. God’s message leave’s no doubt that He works to call people to specific tasks at specific times for eternal purpose. Whether it’s a family who is supposed to abstain from drinking wine and owning land for generations, or a few knuckleheads in a small town in Iowa who are supposed to strike out on The Artist’s Way.

Even before I read this morning’s chapter I was writing in my morning pages that I sense God is doing something. A man I had coffee with said the same thing yesterday. A different man said the same thing at worship team rehearsal last night. God is doing something. There is a shift in the wind. The game’s afoot. I can’t see the middle game or end game, but the pieces are moving on the board. 

I’ve come to accept that I won’t always understand the big picture. That’s why this is a faith journey. I’m simply to follow the prompting and take the next step.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Slayer23