Since I educate children to see life through "biblical worldview lenses," I like to think I recognize when our materialistic culture is clouding my perspective. After reading an unremembered story in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah, however, I decided my worldview lenses need an updated prescription.
In the biblical account, God sets up Jeremiah. He instructs Jeremiah to invite the Rekabite clan to the temple and serve them wine. Problem is, they decline the wine since Rekabites have abstained for years...HUNDREDS of years. Why? Their forefather Jehonadab˛ had commanded his sons not to drink wine. Or plant vineyards. Or sow seeds. Or build houses. Rekabites were to be tent-dwelling nomads.
I imagine that some Rekabite wanderers would have preferred to raise a roof, plant a garden, grow grapes, drink wine, and claim personal pieces of the Promised Land rather than follow the outdated counsel of a dead guy. But that was the point. God's "Rekabite Wine Experiment" turned out to be an oversized object lesson for the people of Judah. The Rekabites faithfully honored a human forefather's ancient commands, while Judah refused to obey God the Father--despite His speaking to them "again and again." Consequently, God pronounced disaster upon Judah, but bestowed the following blessing upon the Rekabites in Jeremiah 35:18-19,
"You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab 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.’”
That was it? Pitching tents, packing tents, bundling belongings, toting babies, herding stubborn livestock, walking, hunting, gathering, obeying primitive orders...and that was their reward? I delved into chapter 36, hoping to discover where God promised the Rekabites prolific gardens, tasty grapes, and restful, secure homes. And that's where my worldview was out-of-whack. God was not miserly, mean, or forgetful. He was offering the Rekabites the greatest gift--the blessing of children who would serve a loving God; acreage in eternity. Among those of us who believe in the reality of heaven and hell, who wouldn't sacrifice cultural comforts for the promise her children would serve Him? What does it profit us if we gain the whole world and lose our children's souls?
I think I wanted immediate relief for the Rekabite nomads because as I wander through life's trials--trying to obey God the Father--I hope to be rewarded (any day now) with an earthly, peaceful "land flowing with milk and honey." I guess I keep forgetting that Israel's "milk and honey" was served with walled cities, giant men, angry heathen kings, idolatrous temptations, and war.
The truth is, Christ "himself is our peace" and rest for our souls. He is enough.
And that tranquil "land flowing with milk and honey?" My new glasses see it clearly...It comes with streets of gold and a mansion.
Scriptural References: Ephesians 2:14, John 14:27, Philippians 4:7, Matthew 11:28-29