What a grand pronouncement to make in affirming the guidance God can give to man! The people making this statement beseeched the prophet Jeremiah to ask God for direction in their plans--whether to stay where they were or move to Egypt. Jeremiah listened to their plea and prayed according to their words. He promised them that he would not hold anything back which God might tell him, whether favorable or not.
God did speak to Jeremiah after ten days, as follows: "If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you" (v.10). So far, so good! But, Jeremiah also had some bad news which the people really didn't want to hear: "If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt . . ." (vv.15-16).
Would they stay or would they go? From our vantage point the decision seems obvious, but the course of history is predicated on just this sort of decision. Situations like these seem to be placed in our paths to mature us in Christ.
The two spokesmen for the people, Azariah and Johanan, as well as all the proud men, replied to Jeremiah, "Thou speakest falsely: the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: . . . So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the Lord" (43:2,7). As a result, "Thus sayeth the Lord. . . I will send
. . . Nebuchadrezzar . . . [to] smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death" (vv.10-11). KBC