SEEK DIRECTION from GOD only TO FOLLOW THEM: "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 that the Lord your God says, so declare to us and we will do it.' 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. Now therefore, know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to dwell." (Jer 42:20-22)
Terrified of the Babylonians after the fall of Jerusalem, and fearful of the Ammonites after the assassination of the appointed governor Gedaliah, the survivors of Jerusalem made preparations to flee to Egypt (41:16–18). These survivors included “soldiers, women, children, and court officials.” Before departing, however, they made a pretense of seeking God’s guidance by asking prophet Jeremiah for a word from the Lord (42:1–3). When the prophet consented, they promised to obey, no matter what the guidance was.
God’s answers do not always come immediately but in His own good time. Ten days later the answer came: Don’t flee to Egypt but stay in the land. If they stay, God will prosper them. If they flee, all the perils they feared in Judah will overtake them in Egypt. But it seems that the people were already determined to flee to Egypt, so Jeremiah told them flatly that they would meet disaster there.
What we can see here is that although the Jewish refugees promised to obey God’s will, the Lord’s message (vv. 7–22) conflicted with their plans (42:19–43:3). The Lord’s will was against seeking refuge in Egypt (Deut. 17:16). The underlying issue here was false trust and the delusion of safety in human power and calculation (22:20, 22; 30:14).
Many times we seek direction from God, but only want to hear what is ‘convenient’ for us (2 Tim. 4:3, 4). We pray falsely and expect God to just validate our desires. We ask God for guidance, but our minds are already made up to do what we want. Unfortunately, such pretense of “seeking counsel” from God is just window dressing, and this action does not please God. Let us seek direction from God only to follow them!
"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." (James 4:1-3)