The benefits of simple obedience are rarely apparent at the moment of the choice of compliance.
Jeremiah 35:6-10 (NIV)
6 But they replied, “We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab gave us this command: ‘Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. 7 Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards; you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.’ 8 We have obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab son of Rekab commanded us. Neither we nor our wives nor our sons and daughters have ever drunk wine 9 or built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed everything our forefather Jehonadab commanded us.
Jeremiah 35:18-19 (NIV)
18 Then Jeremiah said to the family of the Rekabites, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jehonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done everything he ordered.’ 19 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab will never fail to have a descendant to serve me.’”
Simply choosing to obey directives given, no matter if they seemed legalistic or unrealistic, was essential to the survival of the Rekabites. Here they were, told to drink up by the man of God Himself, and yet they refused because of something they had been told not to do by a forefather from long ago. He wasn’t even there to monitor their actions, and was probably not nearly as spiritual as the guy standing before them now. Surely their disobedience to the prophet would be rebuked and result in at least some punishment. And yet, instead of a curse, they received a blessing. Because there would always be a descendent to serve the Lord, that meant they would successfully survive anything that would rise against them. They were used as an example before the rest of Israel of how obedience to authority would be so much better than obstinance.
This passage could be a great illustration of the first commandment with promise - “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 (NIV) Rather than resisting and insisting upon own rights to personal “feelings”, how much better it might be, before God, to simply obey with joy whatever is asked as long as it’s in agreement with the Word. Apparently honoring authority gets one in position for protection and preservation beyond any immediate understanding.