Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 42:1-6 ESV)
Here is a group of people who are afraid of their current circumstances. Judah is in turmoil, with many of the people exiled, and the governor of the land has just been murdered. They want help! So they go to Jeremiah and ask him to consult the Lord for them. Everything seems good. They make promises to do whatever God tells them to do. And yet, when Jeremiah tells them to stay in Jerusalem, the balk. Apparently, they would do “whatever he told them” as long it was something that sounded good to them. I can’t help but thinking how much this sounds like us today too. We have a sincere desire to follow the Lord but deep down, perhaps even below our own awareness of it, we have a list of things we just won’t do for him because it is too hard. What are those things that you are afraid to give up for the Lord? What are those things you are afraid to do for the Lord? Where are those places you are afraid to go for the Lord?