Then all the commanders of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people both small and great approached and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, that is for all this remnant; because we are left but a few out of many, as your own eyes now see us, that the Lord your God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I am going to pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and I will tell you the whole message which the Lord will answer you. I will not keep back a word from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the Lord your God will send you to us. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.”
So Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies did not obey the voice of the Lord to stay in the land of Judah.
This disobedience is beyond surprising and downright shocking. They had specifically asked Jeremiah to seek and share God’s instruction for them, pledging to obey whatever Father God said and then, specifically, intentionally and directly refused to obey. It is mind boggling. It’s not like the instruction was ambiguous or confusing. They asked and were told specifically what to do and what not to do in this case. It was clear. No interpretation was necessary. ‘Stay here. Don’t go to Egypt.’
Their rebellion is beyond comprehension.
It seems in retrospect they didn’t really ever want God’s direction regarding what they should do. They wanted God’s blessing on what they were already set on doing!
This type of rebellion is deeply dangerous. (But then what type of rebellion against God isn’t?) God does not take to it kindly and will not leave it unpunished. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know! But trust me, if you do ask and you do know, obey! Blessing follows obedience. Punishment awaits the rebellious.
Guard our hearts from this deception, Holy Spirit.