In Jeremiah 35, we learn of the Rechabites.
Jeremiah offers them some wine, and they say:
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. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to dwell in.
For this, God praised the Rechabites because they “obeyed the command of their father Jonadab.”
Jonadab (or Jehonadab) was a supporter of Jehu, a king of Israel. He rode with Jehu while he went around and slaughtered what remained of Ahab’s shattered dynasty.
Afterward, they cleansed the land of Baal worship, burning down the house of Baal and making the spot a latrine. Jonadab was known for being zealous for God, which is why Jehu recruited him for this work.
About 200 years separate Jonadab’s life and the incident with the Rechabites in Jeremiah.
For 200 years his descendants had kept his word and obeyed his command.
That is longer than Jehu’s house ruled the land of Israel.
That is a legacy to be proud of.
Will your great-great-great-great-grandchildren remember your words? Will they treat your wishes with reverence?
Are your words worth remembering?
God praises the Rechabites for their faithfulness to their long-dead father, but he saves even greater praise for Jonadab himself.
Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.Jeremiah 35:19
A lasting legacy will bless a man’s descendants, but it compounds in blessing upon blessing to the man who started it. God invests a father with authority and responsibility, and He expects a return on that investment.
But God is one who shares profits liberally.