Have you heard of the Rechabites? Jeremiah is told to “go to the house of the Rechabites” (35:2) “and bring them to the house of the LORD … then offer them wine to drink”. This event was to be a lesson that Jeremiah could convey to the people.

Jeremiah says, “I brought them to the house of the LORD into the chamber of the sons of Hanan” and “set before the Rechabites pitchers full of wine and cups, and I said to them, ‘Drink Wine’” (verses 4,5); but they refused, saying, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab, the son of Rechab, our father commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever … We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab … in all that he has commanded us’” (verses 6,8).

The LORD then tells Jeremiah, “Go and say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, ‘Will you not receive instruction and listen to my words?’ declares the LORD. The command that Jonadab, the son of Rechab gave to his sons to drink no wine, has been kept, and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. I have spoken to you persistently but you have not listened to me. I have sent to you all my servants … saying ‘Turn every one of you from his evil way, amend your deeds’ But you did not incline your ear or listen to me.” (verses 13-15).

Because of this willful deafness, the warning from the LORD goes forth, “Behold I am bringing … all the disaster I have pronounced against them, because I have spoken to them, and they have not listened” (verse 17).

Today, surely God can say something like, ‘my words that I caused to be written and preserved and spread into all languages is no longer read. Nearly all the people alive today do not want to know, they have not read or listened. Instead, they listen to a multitude of voices and sounds made by those who do not know me, many saying, “There is no God we should heed and be in awe of.’” Those who read God’s word must say to each other, “Let us make sure we are not among those who have not listened”.

And when we listen and read, what is the result if we do so sincerely with all our heart? Jesus told his disciples, “you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). That word changed the disciples’ lives when they realized their Saviour had died for them. May our listening have the same effect.