“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Blessed is the man who stands against temptations, and when he passes the test with success, he receives the reward from God.
In Jeremiah 35, there is a story about a special family, who endured successfully temptation and obeyed the commandment of their father, out of fear of God. This is the family of Jonadab the son of Rechab. This family is an example for all of us today.
God commanded Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites to God’s house and to give them wine to drink. (God knew them that they will not drink…): “Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine.” But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners”. (Jer. 35:5-7).
The sons of Jonadab listened to the voice of their father, as he commanded them and obeyed him: “Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us” (verses 8-10).
God guided Jeremiah to speak to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to give them the example of Jonadab’s sons, as they had obeyed their father. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction to obey My words?” says the Lord. “The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons, not to drink wine, are performed; for to this day they drink none, and obey their father’s commandment. But although I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, you did not obey Me. I have also sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way, amend your doings, and do not go after other gods to serve them; then you will dwell in the land which I have given you and your fathers.’ But you have not inclined your ear, nor obeyed Me. Surely the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them, but this people has not obeyed Me” (verses 13-16).
We, the true believers, must be an example to those around us with our obedience to our Father in Heaven, out of fear of God, as were the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab to their father. All of this – in order to give glory to God!!! They also received His reword: “And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever” (verses 18-19).
We all live today in a world full of temptations and we are being tested, do we stand against them or not. One of the strong temptations is money and the problem is – love of money. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10).
This is a serious matter, the devil wants to seduce believers too. Some of them want to get honor and prestige through their riches, and some trust the money instead of trusting in God. But what God’s Word tells us? “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5). And more: “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches” (Psalms 49:6). But, we are not tested only through physical temptations, but also through spiritual ones. For example: a temptation to justify ourselves even when we are wrong, a temptation not to forgive a brother, lest we look weak, a temptation not to say the truth out of fear of man, a temptation to walk on the wide path and to be like everyone else, out of fear that we will be rejected by people. The devil also tries to tempt us to compromise with God’s Word, to soften the Word and even to change it, in order to use it for our personal benefits. But, God wants us to honor His holy Word, as it is really written!
As true believers, we must discern the temptations that come from the enemy of our soul and to trust the Lord to help us to endure them by faith. Our absolute trust in God is the strongest weapon against the temptations of the world.”…But I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place” (Psalms 31:6-8). When we trust God, understand His ways and know His will, we can overcome these temptations and all this by the grace of God. And to whom this grace has been given? “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him…To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them” (Psalms 103:17-18). “And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).
Most of us were chained to the lusts of the world (temptations), before we been saved, but today we must be holy in all of our ways, to give up the lusts of the world and to dedicate our life to God only. “As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 peter 1:14-16).
That is true, we live in a dark world, corrupted and evil. But what is God’s will from us? That we shall fear Him, will test what is desirable in his eyes and what is not, what does He like and what does He hate (Prob. 6:16-19) and we will obey His Word.
God’s Word guides us about our attitude to this world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
God wants us to do His will and to abide forever, therefore He guides us through His Word: “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24). Amen!