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The Rechabite and the Christian.

The Rechabite and the Christian.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
By R. N. SLEDD,


" The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not
to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their
father's commandment. Notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early
and speaking; but ye harkened not unto Me." — Jer. xxxv, 14.
By R. N. SLEDD,


" The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not
to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their
father's commandment. Notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early
and speaking; but ye harkened not unto Me." — Jer. xxxv, 14.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 09, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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The Rechabite and the Christian.By R. . SLEDD, " The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment. otwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye harkened not unto Me." — Jer. xxxv, 14. Jonadab, or, as his name is elsewhere written, Jehonadab, lived during the reigns of Jehoram and Jehu, nearly 300 years before the delivery of this prophecy. He was the founder of the semi-religious sect or order of Rechabites. Rechab, his father, belonged to a branch of the Kenites, an Arab family — a family whose history became strangely interwoven with that of Israel. When Moses was an exile from the land of Egypt in the land of Midian, he became connected with this tribe of Kenites by marriage. When he led Israel out of Egypt, for a season he sojourned in the country of the Kenites, and when he left, some of them, probably his connections by marriage, accompanied him in his travels, and entered with his people into the land of Palestine. When the Israelites became settled, the Kenites betook them- selves to the wilderness, determined to maintain their Arab, or nomadic manner of life. We find one branch of the family in northern Palestine represented by Heber, in whose tent Sisera, the Syrian, was slain [155] ij6 True Heroism and Other Sermons. after his defeat by Barak and Deborah. We find another branch of the family in southern Palestine, near the town of Jabez; to this section Rechab and his son Jonadab belonged. The first instance in which Jonadab is brought prominently into the historical narrative is in con- nection with Jehu. Jehu was commander-in-chief of the army of Jehoram, the son of Ahab. While en- gaged in the siege of Ramoth-Gilead, he was anointed
 
king by the prophet Elisha. As soon as this fact was published the army declared for him with great en- thusiasm. With the army at his back and knowing that promptitude of action was all-important, he set out at once for Jezreel, the capital of the kingdom, in order to dethrone the reigning monarch and take possession of the government. Subsequently, while on the way from Jezreel to Samaria he met Jehona- dab. The austere Arab chief was on foot. Jehu was in his chariot. o doubt Jehonadab was a man of reputation — of reputation for wisdom, for integrity and piety. Jehu recognizing him, halted for a moment, beckoned him to him, and taking him by the hand, lifted him into his chariot, seated him be- side him and said : " Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord of Hosts." Jehonadab rode with him to Samaria, and no doubt was with him as counsellor and auxiliary in the terribly bloody tragedy that immediately followed. He ap- pears only once more in the history and then not as True Heroism and Other Sermons. i$j an actual participant, but as an approving spectator of the destruction of the worshipers of Baal. In the text the obedience of the sons of Jonadab is placed in contrast with the obedience of the ser- vants of the Most High. Jehonadab gave to his sons certain rules of life that he desired to be observed by them and their posterity through all generations. These rules were that they should drink no wine; sow no seed; plant no vineyard, nor possess any; that they should build no houses, no cities or villages, but should dwell in tents and practice a severe as- ceticism, and carefully observe the habits of their ancestors forever. Jehonadab does not give his reason for such rules of life, but to have prescribed them he must have been deeply convinced of their wisdom, and their importance to the welfare of his sons. He plainly laid himself liable to the charge of being an " old fogy." He had great respect for his
 
ancestors — a high regard for their opinions and prac- tices. They led a pastoral life, and that life he held was good enough for him and his posterity. He was not a man of progress, in the popular sense of the word; he was not " up to the times." He was something like an old gentleman whom I knew in a country charge which I once served. I visited him in his mountain home. His residence was a log cabin. In its log chimney I observed that the fire had at some remote time burned an opening large ij8 True Heroism and Other Sermons. enough for a man to pass through. Said I : " Mr. B., why do you not repair your chimney? " " Well," said he, " that was burned when my father was a young man, and he lived to be 70 years old (and our Mr. B. was now no less than 70 years old), and he never repaired it. It was good enough for him, and I am no better than he was." He had more respect for his father's opinions and whims than for his own wisdom or his own comfort. We believe in true progress; but we believe also that it would be far better for the young men and the young women of the present day if they had more of the spirit of " old fogyism " about them; if they had greater rev- erence for the opinions and character, and the lives of their fathers and their mothers. The little upstart of to-day, as destitute of wisdom as he is of filial reverence, will say : " Father is behind the times, mother is out of fashion," and discard them as coun- sellors and guides, or as models after which to shape his character and life. Poor simpleton ! It will not be long before he will learn to his sorrow that far better would it have been for him if he had had a profounder veneration for father and mother. Jonadab, no doubt, believed also that the pastoral life would be more promotive of the virtue and happi- ness of his family and his posterity; and these surely are more to be desired than vast estates, or palatial homes, or magnificent cities with all their accom- paniments of leisure, luxury and licentiousness.

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