In the past, people held on to family names dearly. Families had values that were cultivated over a long period, and successive generations sought to perpetuate these values by avoiding anything negative that would drag their family names in the mud.
Proverb 22:1 says, “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (NLT). But these days, children, especially those who are being raised by absentee parents don’t know anything about family values.
Their values are sourced from friends, peers, the media, and most times these values are wrong, and without fail, will give them a wrong life which will lead them to a wrong destination.
With family life breaking down, godly family values are fast going into oblivion. But do we still need godly family values in our fragmented society? Are godly family values still necessary in a disintegrated society? Yes, we need godly family values, or else our society, which consists of family units, will never be redeemed.
In Jeremiah 35, the Bible talks about the Rechabites (Recabites) and their godly family values which were kept even long after the death of Jehonadab their ancestor. “This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: ‘Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.’ So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons - representing all the Recabite families. I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God.
This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. ‘No, they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command:
‘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.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here” (Jer 35:1-11 NLT).
Who were the Rechabites? They were a tightly knit group of descendants of the in-laws of Moses – the Kenites. “When the tribe of Judah left Jericho - the city of palms—the Kenites, who were descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, travelled with them into the wilderness of Judah. They settled among the people there, near the town of Arad in the Negev” (Judges 1:16 NLT). 1 Chro 2:55 also tells us that the Kenites descended from Hammath, the father of the family of Rechab.
Who was Jehonadab? He was a man who had a zeal for the Lord and teamed up with Jehu to sweep the prophets of baal out of Samaria. “When Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab, who was coming to meet him. After they had greeted each other, Jehu said to him, ‘Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?’ ‘Yes, I am,’ Jehonadab replied. ‘If you are,’ Jehu said, ‘then give me your hand.’ So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu helped him into the chariot. Then Jehu said, “Now come with me, and see how devoted I am to the Lord.” So Jehonadab rode along with him” (2 Kgs 10:15 –16 NLT).
Verse 23 says, “Then Jehu went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Recab.” Jehonadab was there with Jehu when he supervised the killing of the worshippers of baal by his guards and officers with their swords, dragged their bodies outside, dragged out the sacred pillar of the temple of Baal and burned it.
Jehonadab was there with Jehu when he smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet!
The Rechabites kept the word of their father, Jehonadab, that they and their descendants must never drink wine, build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. They never disappointed their ancestor. “We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor.” Not even the lure by a prophet of God to drink alcoholic drink could entice them to violate the word of their ancestor who had died long ago – God had used Prophet Jeremiah to test the Rechabites to make a point to Jeremiah about the unfaithfulness of the Israelites to Him.
May be many of the Rechabites were not even born when Jehonadab gave that instruction, but they sustained their godly family values.
What godly instructions are you passing on to your children? Are you leaving behind, godly legacies that your children and children’s children can sustain long after you are gone? What Bible-based family values are you bequeathing to generations after you?
Permit me to stop this message here today. I shall continue next week. I pray that you will act on what you have read today. Till next week, you are blessed in Jesus’ name.