Verse 1 – Then all the captains of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near (This included Jeremiah and Baruch, 43:6.) Jezaniah is called Azariah in Jeremiah 43:2.
Verse 2 – and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, for all this remnant since we are left but a few of many, as you can see,
Verse 3 – “that the Lord your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do.”
Verse 4 – Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard. Indeed, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your words, and it shall be, that whatever the Lord answers you, I will declare it to you. I will keep nothing back from you.”
Verse 5 – Then they said to Jeremiah, “Let the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not do according to everything which the Lord your God sends us by you.
Verse 6 – “Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
Verse 7 – And it happened after ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
Verse 8 – Then he called Johanan the son of Kareah, all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest,
Have you ever been at a cross-roads and needed an answer from God quickly? How long did you have to wait, or did you? I’ve found in my own life, if I didn’t have the patience to wait and rushed ahead with what I thought was right, it did not always turn out so good. Praying and then waiting is a test of our faith-do we trust God to answer us? I have learned this though: “Don’t let others pressure you into rushing ahead, just because they think you should.”
Verse 9 – and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition before Him:
Verse 10 – ‘If you will still abide in this land, then I will build you and not pull you down, and I will plant you and not pluck you up. For I relent concerning disaster that I have brought upon you.
Verse 11 – ‘Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; do not be afraid of him,’ says the Lord, ‘for I am with you, to save you and deliver you from his hand.
Verse 12 – ‘And I will show you mercy, that he (king of Babylon) have mercy on you, and cause you to return to your own land.’
Verse 13 – “But if you say, ‘We will not dwell in this land,’ disobeying the voice of the Lord your God,
Verse 14 – “saying, ‘No, but we will go to the land of Egypt where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor be hungry for bread, and there dwell –
Verse 15 – “then hear now the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah! Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you wholly set your faces to enter Egypt, and go to sojourn there,
Verse 16 – ‘then it shall be that the sword which you feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; the famine of which you were afraid shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die.
Verse 17 – ‘So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to sojourn there. They shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. and none of them shall remain or escape from disaster that I will bring upon the.’
Verse 18 – “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘As My anger and My fury have been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so shall My fury be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. and you shall be an oath, an astonishment, a curse, and reproach; and you shall see this place no more.’
Verse 19 – “The Lord has said concerning you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Know certainly that I have admonished you this day.
This remnant has a choice to make. Either they can stay in their own land and cultivate it with the Babylonians in charge of them, or go to Egypt where the Lord says they will die by famine or the sword.
When important decisions come, sometimes we will know deep in our hearts what the Lord has said, but fear is there because of the unknown. Some will chose the easy way out that may hold dire consequences down the road that we can’t see. But know this, if God says do not fear, then “He’s got this!”
Verse 20 – “For you were hypocrites in your hearts when you sent me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God, and according to all the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.’
Wow! God had revealed to Jeremiah the intention of the people before they even asked for God’s answer. The Bible says, “God sees the heart,” so He knows the motives and He sees if our hearts are already set on doing it our way no matter what He says. And this is what the people of Judah had done. They had already made up their minds to go to Egypt where there was no war at that time.
Verse 21 – “And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, or anything which He has sent you by me.
I can imagine the people yelling at Jeremiah, “We’re not staying here, we’re going to Egypt!” They had went so long without heeding the words of Jeremiah that their hearts were hardened.
Verse 22 – “Now therefore, know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go sojourn.”
Today as a born-again Christian, we have the Word of God to be our guide to pray by the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s word says that if “You draw close to Me, then I’ll come close to you (James 4:8).” The closer we come to God, the easier it is to hear what His desires for our life is. The sad thing is though in this day and age, a lot of people won’t take the time that is involved in spending time in His presence. When we read God’s word, it will open our eyes and our hearts to the things that matter most!