The Rechabites are a wonderful inclusion in the narrative. We have a faithful family. A family full of people who choice to follow the covenant they were taught.
You always wonder, or I do, when reading these accounts of judgment. With the exception of Sodom and Gomorrah, when we’re told there aren’t even ten righteous inhabitants in the cities, I always wonder how thoroughly, exactly, is the entire nation corrupt?
The prophets exist. They have servants. Families. How many others are faithful, just doing their best, while the nation falls apart around them?
And here we have one of those families. And here we see God’s response.
The covenant is communal. It is with the entire people. No one exists in alone, and we all bear responsibility to to communities we are a part of. The nation, as a whole, has violated the covenant so profoundly that God is sending them into exile. It is a communal guilt, and it is a communal punishment.
But there is this family. This family is faithful. This family does not deserve to be punished. This family is not large enough to save the entire nation. So God blesses this family.
I’m terribly sorry. The community you are a part of has chosen downfall. However, because you are living in faith and obedience, you family shall be preserved. Your family will be honored. Can’t spare you the pain of invasion and exile, but you are seen.
I think this is an important lesson for us to understand. We can do everything we are supposed to do, live as we are supposed to live, and still suffer the consequences of the world we live in. Whether it is a mishandling of our job or a church or our community, we will feel the pain of living in a broken world. This does not mean we are forgotten or overlooked. It does not mean our circumstances were chosen for us. Not as punishment, not as test, not as lesson, not as anything for us at all. It is simply the world we live in.
But God will see us through it. God will preserve us through it. God will use our faithfulness in ways we can never imagine.
Do you think this family, the Rechabites, ever imagined they would be included in a Holy Scripture that carries God’s message to all people throughout history? That they would be held up as an example for the rest of time? I doubt they had the perspective.
Some times you will experience bad things you do not deserve. It won’t always have a purpose, at least not for you personally. It can be used in ways you’ll never imagine, and God will see you through it if you let him.