Read Jeremiah 42:1-22. What powerful message is found there, not just for them, but for anyone who seeks guidance from the Lord in prayer?
Fearful of the Babylonians, the people seek out Jeremiah and ask him to pray for them for divine guidance.
They must have known by now that Jeremiah was indeed a prophet of God, and what he said when he spoke in the name of the Lord would come true.
They also vowed they would do whatever God asked or commanded them to do. So, as we read, we see a people who seem to have learned their lesson, who want not only to know what God’s will is, but, more important, to follow it. The words-
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 (Jer. 42:6, NKJV)-were a powerful confession of faith. After all that had happened, it was about time.
Notice the parallel here with Jeremiah’s earlier messages: don’t trust in foreign powers. Trust in the Lord, and He will prosper you and He will deliver you when the time is right. Salvation isn’t from anywhere or anyone else. The foreign powers didn’t help you before, and they won’t help you now.
God has to warn them because He knows the tendency of their hearts: He knows that they are thinking of going back to Egypt (think of the symbolism here) in order to seek the protection they wanted. So, the Lord gave them very clear and specific commands not to do that, that such a course would bring ruin upon them.
Again, such a stark choice, the choice we all have to face: life and peace through faith and obedience to Jesus, or misery and death through lack of faith and lack of obedience. No matter the different circumstances, in the end the issue is the same for all of us. Unlike these people, we don’t always have the warnings given to us so specifically and so clearly expressed, but we have been given the warnings just the same.
Life or death, blessing or cursing. What kind of choices are you making, every day, either for life or for death?