I the people of God, the Israelite's found themselves in a tough spot. They had seen their homes, temple, livelihood and families destroyed due to their disobedience to God. So they pleaded with God's prophet Jeremiah to pray on their behalf for God's direction in which way they should go. The wrath of God had been poured out this nation do to their wickedness. On the surface this request to turn to the Lord seemed wise. In Jeremiah 42:6 the people of God evened vowed that no matter if God's answer was "favorable or unfavorable they would obey."
In reading a good novel this seemed to be the part where the antagonist of the story has been redeemed, willing to change his ways. I assumed that they would turn back to God in trust that His ways are better than our own. They even promised to obey no matter the cost. I've done this; this pleading and bargaining to God.
Desperation leads people to make promises for reform and many seek the Lord. But are our hearts right to the point of acting in obedience no matter the cost.
Well the Lord did answer the prayers of His people, but they not only didn't listen to the Lord's instruction they did the thing God told specifically told them not to do. So off they went in disobedience. Jeremiah 43:3 alludes to the fact that they were more motivated by fear of man rather than the holy, all consuming fear of God.
Examining my own life I have many times been motivated by my own fear of others. I though things such as what would "they" think? If I did (fill in the blank) it wouldn't be seen as right, good, or loving?
Where is my allegiance? Is it to what I think others think is right? Do I respond more to fear than to God's truth? Oh No my prayer is to obey God beyond my fears, feelings and thoughts. Help me Jesus!
1 Samuel 15:22, "...Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."