As Jehu continues, there is a sudden meeting with Jehonadab. In response to Jehu’s question about the rightness of his heart, Jehonadab answers that his heart is indeed right. He has a right heart, but not so much in relation to Jehu as in relation to God. What the rightness of Jehu’s heart is worth, shows his performance, especially in the way he will soon eradicate the worshippers of Baal.
Jehonadab is a remarkable man. He is of the family of Rechab, of the people of Kenites. So he is not from origin from God’s people, but descends from a Canaanite people (Gen 15:18-1918On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite), so from those peoples God had said they should be eradicated. Now not all Kenites lived in Canaan and therefore not all Kenites fell under the judgement. Several of them lived among God’s people (Jdg 1:1616The descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people.; 4:1717Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for [there was] peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.; 1Sam 15:66Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.; 1Chr 2:5555The families of scribes who lived at Jabez [were] the Tirathites, the Shimeathites [and] the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.).
In Jeremiah 35 we read extensively about Jehonadab and his descendants and God’s appreciation for him and his family. There it turns out that Jehonadab was a faithful servant of the LORD and that his faithfulness is rewarded by the LORD. We have seen before that the period of Jehu can be compared to the period of Sardis in Revelation 3 (Rev 3:1-61“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.2Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.3So remember what you have received and heard; and keep [it], and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.4But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.5He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’). It is remarkable that we not only find Jehu, but also Jehonadab in Sardis.
In Sardis we recognize Jehu in those who say they have the name to live (Rev 3:1b1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.). Jehu testifies of himself that he lives before the LORD when he says to Jehonadab “see my zeal for the LORD”. Israel is said to be “zealous for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” (Rom 10:22For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.). That also applies to Jehu. It is not a language of faith to so point at himself in his zeal for the LORD, but pride.
It must therefore be said of Jehu that his deeds have not been found completed in the sight of God (Rev 3:2b2Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.). Jehu may be eradicating the Baal service, but the golden calves still exist. Jehu returns, so to speak, to Jeroboam and not to David. Thus, the period of Sardis is in a sense a relief after the period of Thyatira – although Sardis and Thyatira coexist in church history – but Sardis does not return to the word of the apostles and prophets. Sardis remains, so to speak, ‘hanging’ in Pergamus, that is to say, the time in which the church takes in the world.
Jehonadab we recognize in the “few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments” (Rev 3:4a4But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.). They receive a promise (Rev 3:4b4But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.), just as Jehonadab also receives a promise from the LORD (Jer 35:18-1918Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you;19therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”‘“). Jehonadab is not in Judah, in Jerusalem, or near the temple, the dwelling-place of God; but he is one of the faithful among the ten apostate tribes. Jehu would also like to insure himself of his company. Jehonadab is an influential man because of his consistent attitude to life and lifestyle. This will appeal to the conservative subjects in his empire.
Jehu makes Jehonadab his friend because of the political advantage this gives him. He uses Jehonadab to strengthen his own position. When Jehu says “give your hand”, it means more than just that he can help him climb up his car. It is also symbolic for the call for his help in his acquisition of the kingship.
Jehonadab is standing by Jehu’s side; he climbs up into the chariot with him. Yet he takes a clear place of separation in the ten tribes. This is clear from Jeremiah 35. He does not drink wine, which indicates that he has no part in the joys of the apostate people. He doesn’t even plant a vineyard, because he doesn’t want to be tempted to drink wine either. He doesn’t even have a house or a field, but lives in tents. He does not want to be connected to the land in any way. For this whole behavior, this consistent attitude, which can also be seen in his descendants, he receives God’s appreciation and reward (Jer 35:12-1912Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,13“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the LORD.14“The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink [wine] to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me.15Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending [them] again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me.16Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”‘17Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the disaster that I have pronounced against them; because I spoke to them but they did not listen, and I have called them but they did not answer.’”18Then Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father, kept all his commands and done according to all that he commanded you;19therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me always.”‘“).
We see something similar in Protestantism. New churches are formed there, which are separated from the evil in Sardis. They arise as a protest against the prevailing evil. We recognize that in our days, for example, in the restored reformed church. It is a place of separation, although within the boundaries of Sardis, of the ten tribes.