34:1-22 – ‘Freedom for the slaves’ – What a good idea! ‘Everyone agreed’. The slaves were ‘set free’. So far, so good! Then things went wrong – ‘Afterwards they changed their minds and took back the slaves… and enslaved them again’ (8-11). What did God have to say about this? – ‘You have turned round and dishonoured Me… You took back the slaves… You forced them into slavery again… You have not obeyed Me’ (16-17). Jesus Christ isn’t like these slavemasters! He doesn’t only promise us freedom. He gives us our freedom: ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’. He doesn’t come to us with ‘a pack of lies’ – promising this, that and the other, and then breaking every promise. He sets us free with His Word of truth – ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:36,32; Psalm 119:45).
35:1-19 – ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey My words?’ (13) – ‘Jonadab, son of Rechab, ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept… I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed Me’ (14). We are not to say, ‘I will follow You’ and then change our mind (Luke 9:57). We are not to sing, ‘Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee’, and then live a life which contradicts our prayer of commitment to the Lord (Church Hymnary, 462). We are to mean what we say. We are to follow through our words of commitment with a life of obedience, a life that is pleasing to the Lord. The Rechabites were obedient to Jonadaab’s command – and they were blessed by God (18-19). Obedient and blessed – That’s what God wants us to be. Let’s obey the Lord – and look to Him for the blessing.
36:1-32 – ‘The king cut it with the penknife, and threw it into the fire’ (23). The king didn’t like God’s Word. He thought he could get rid of God’s Word. What a fool he was! God saw what was going on. The king’s attempt to silence God was utterly futile. God would not be silenced. He continued to speak His Word. Soon, the king was hearing another Word from the Lord: ‘You burned that scroll…’ (29)! God is still speaking to us today. He calls us to listen to Him. He calls us back from the way of ‘wickedness’, back from the brink of ‘disaster’ (31). He calls us back from the way of unbelief, the way that leads to ‘the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’. He calls us to be ‘blessed’. Have faith in the Saviour. Receive ‘the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’ (Matthew 25:41,34).