The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,…
Did the Lord make a proposal to total abstainers to drink wine? Did he send for them to a kind of wine festival? Is this the meaning of the Lord's Prayer, "Load us not into temptation"? Is not the Lord always thus leading men into temptation? — not in the patent and vulgar sense in which that term is generally understood, but in a sense which signifies drill, the application of discipline, the testing of principles and purposes and character? Is not all life a temptation? The Lord tries every man. There need be no hesitation in offering the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation." People have tried to soften the words. They have said instead of "lead" "leave us not in temptation"; but these are the annotations of inexperience and folly, or superficiality. We are not men until we have been thus moulded, tried, qualified. We can do little for one another in that pit of temptation. We must be left with God. There is one Refiner; He sits over the furnace, and when the fire has done enough He quenches the cruel, flame. Think it no strange thin that temptation hath befallen you; yea, think it not strange that God Himself has given you opportunities by which you may be burned. He never gives such an opportunity without giving something else. Alas, how often we see the opportunity and not the sustaining grace! The drinking of wine in this case was to be done in "the house of the Lord." Now light begins to dawn. Mark the limitations of our temptation. The Lord is never absent from His house. Let God tempt me, and He will also save me; let Him invite me into His own house, that there, under a roof beautiful as heaven, He may work His will upon me, and afterwards I shall stand up, higher in nature, broader in manhood, truer in the metal of the Spirit. Observe the details of this mysterious operation. The men who were taken were proved men (ver. 3). When the Lord calls for giants to fight His battle and show the strength of His grace, they are chosen men. All these men were conspicuous witnesses for the truth: they were identified with the faith of Israel; they were the trustees of the morality of society. It is so in all ages. There are certain men whom we may denominate our stewards, trustees, representatives; as for ourselves, we say, it is not safe to trust us; we are weaker than a bruised reed; we cannot stand great public ordeals; we were not meant to be illustrations of moral fortitude: spare us from the agony of such trial! There are other men in society whom God Himself can trust. What did the sons of Rechab say? Herein is a strange thing, that children should obey the voice of a dead father. Yet this is a most pleasing contention; this is an argument softened by pathos. The men stood up, and did not speak in their own name; they said, We be the sons of a certain man, who gave a certain law, and by that law we will live, and ever will live. The trial took place in the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah. The father of Maaseiah was Shallum, who was the husband of Huldah the prophetess, who had taken an active part in the reformation wrought in the reign of Josiah. So all these were so many guarantees of probity, and strength, and success. There will be no evil wrought in that chamber I Not only are the Rechabites there, but their fathers are with them in spirit. Though our fathers, physical and spiritual, be dead, yet they may live with us in the spirit, and may go with us and sustain us in all the trials and difficulties of life. "We will drink no wine." Note the definiteness of the answer. No inquiry is made about the kind of wine. Men are saved by their definiteness. A strong, proud, decisive answer is the true reply to all temptation. An oath that strikes as with a fist of iron, a denial that is like a long, sharp two-edged sword, — these must be our policies and watchwords in the time of danger. The reason is given (ver. 6). It is a filial argument. Good advice is not always thrown away; and men should remember that though exhortation may be rejected for a long time, yet there are periods when it may recur to the memory and come upon the whole life like a blessing sent from God. The argument is a fortiori. The Lord has shown how the sons of Jonadab can refuse wine: now He will take this example and apply it to the whole host of Judah, and He will say, See what one section of your country can do; if they can do this, why cannot you be equally loyal and true? why cannot you be equally obedient to the spirit of righteousness? for three hundred years this bond has been kept in this family; never once has it been violated: if one family can do this, why not a thousand families? if one section of the country, why not the whole nation? This was God's method of applying truth to those who needed it. Thus we teach one another. One boy can be obedient; why not all boys? One soul can be faithful; why not all souls? God in His providence says: See what others can do, and as they toil and climb and succeed in reaching the highest point, so do ye follow them: the grace that made them succeed will not fail you in the hour of your trial and difficulty.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying,