The descendants of Jonadab son of Recab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’

– Jeremiah 35:16

The Recabite family were amazingly obedient to the command of their forefathers in a day when most others around them were doing anything but. Yet they failed to hear the voice of God through the prophet of Jeremiah. He had repeatedly told Judah to surrender to the army of Nebuchadnezzar, yet nobody was listening or obeying him.

Christians today, to varying degrees, have become like the Recabites. We follow the traditions and “rules” of being a Christian, at least as defined by the “church”, yet we have not sought or heeded the voice of God in years. When we pray, it is more self-focused than God-focused. We give greater weight to the things that go on at “church”, than we do in our daily following hard after God.

I’m not suggesting that traditions are bad. While some may be distracting to the true purpose of the church, most are good and justifiable.  However, we do need to be cautious that we do not fall into the trap of just becoming habitual in our religion. Church is not a place we go or thing we do. Being a member of the body of Christ is an all-consuming daily pursuit. In fact, James defines true religion in part as caring for widows and orphans. In other words, loving, caring for, and serving those in need trumps regular attendance, corporate worship, and hanging out with the right crowd.

How do we hear God’s voice in a day where we don’t have a Jeremiah screaming at us from the gates of the city? God speaks to us through His Word, which means we need to be reading our Bible. We should be struggling and praying about things in our lives. How can we teach our children to be in the world and not of it? Am I doing all that I can do to serve my spouse just as Jesus served the disciples? Am I truly fulfilling my responsibilities in the body of Christ? We should be praying with a spirit of humility.

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

– Luke 18: 13-14

Any time we begin to feel like things are going well and we have it pretty well figure out, we should probably think about this tax collector and ask God for mercy. It’s probably a sign that we are too comfortable in our daily habits and traditions.

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