Jeremiah 42:1-6 "Then all the captains of the forces, and Jo'hanan the son of Kare'ah, and Jezani'ah the son of Hoshai'ah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near, 2 and said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) 3 that the LORD thy God may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass,that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you. 5 Then they said toJeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. 6 Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God."
The remnant who remained in Jerusalem were given some freedoms by the Chadeans to re-establish themselves in a land that had been devastated. Jeremiah was sought out by the people to invoke the Lord on their behalf. The people told Jeremiah that whatever God revealed to them through him they would accept and obey. Notice verse six, "Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God."
Nothing from God can be morally evil, only good, therefore, what the people are saying in the phrase "whether it be good, or whether it be evil" is whether it was something they wanted to hear personally or not. As one commentator says, "whether it was pleasantly or profitably good or evil; whether it was agreeable or disagreeable, pleasing or displeasing, advantageous or not; whether it seemed to them good or evil, be it what it would in their opinion and esteem"
These people really didn't care much about anything other than themselves. What God asks of us, or commands us, is always what is best for us. One of the last phrases in verse six sounds spiritual, but really is self indulgent. "That it may be well with us..." They weren't saying that it might benefit others, or that it might glorify God, but they were concerned about themselves.
Obedience to God brings every blessing imaginable to man, but it isn't the primary reason that any of us should obey the Lord. We should obey the Lord because we love Him and desire to magnify Him.
Jeremiah knew the insincerity of the hearts of the people who sent him to inquire of the Lord on their behalf. Jeremiah 42:20-22, "For ye dissembled (went astray) in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. 21 And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you. 22 Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn."
Gill says in his Commentary of the Entire Bible, "What a wretched scene of hypocrisy is here!"
May we be honest and sincere before the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:8, "Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Have a great day serving God in sincerity and truth!
Your Friend in HIM,
Pastor Mike Abbott