They said to Jeremiah, “Let God be our witness, a true and faithful witness against us, if we don’t do everything that your God directs you to tell us. Whether we like it or not, we’ll do it. We’ll obey whatever our God tells us. Yes, count on us. We’ll do it.”
Ten days later God’s Message came to Jeremiah. He called together Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers with him, including all the people, regardless of how much clout they had.
He then spoke: “This is the Message from God, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your prayer. He says, ‘If you are ready to stick it out in this land, I will build you up and not drag you down, I will plant you and not pull you up like a weed. I feel deep compassion on account of the doom I have visited on you. You don’t have to fear the king of Babylon. Your fears are for nothing. I’m on your side, ready to save and deliver you from anything he might do. I’ll pour mercy on you. What’s more, he will show you mercy! He’ll let you come back to your very own land.’(Jeremiah 42:5-12)
Zedekiah, the last descendent of David was blind and living in Babylon. The city of Jerusalem had been destroyed. Most of the rich and powerful of the land had been taken away to captivity. But Jeremiah and the rest of the people of Judah were still there. Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Gedaliah as governor over those who remained.
Both Gedaliah (see 2 Kings 25:24) and God, through Jeremiah, told the people to settle down and relax, that all would be well for them if they didn’t resist the Babylonians.
A group of concerned citizens came to Jeremiah pretending to seek God’s will. But what they really wanted was for God to bless their will. So they rejected what God said through Jeremiah. It wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted to fight. They wanted to rebel against the Babylonians. They wanted to go to Egypt. So they did. They murdered Gedaliah (see 2 Kings 25:25-26) and then fled to Egypt, dragging Jeremiah with them. People usually want God to bless their decisions. They don’t want to be blessed by God’s decisions, because they don’t trust God as much as they trust themselves.