We saw yesterday, that when the remnant of Judah desired to flee to Egypt, because of fear of reprisal from the king of Babylon, they inquired of the LORD through Jeremiah what they should do. The LORD told them that they were hypocrites, in inquiring of Him (Jer 42:20), because they had already determined in their hearts what they would do, whether He said yea or nay.
And when Jeremiah told them what they did not want to hear — stay here and do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, for I am with you –:
“Now it happened, when Jeremiah had stopped speaking to all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, all these words, that Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men spoke, saying to Jeremiah, “You speak falsely! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to dwell there.'” Jer 43:1-2
When our hearts have set themselves on a desire, we must beware, because we can find religious and right- sounding excuses to ignore and discredit what the LORD is saying, that goes against our desires, that we have already set our hearts upon, and convinced ourselves that the LORD is already in agreement with.
The remnant fled to Egypt anyway. Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch were taken to Egypt with the remnant against their will. An extrabiblical rabbinical tradition has it that Jeremiah died in Egypt, stoned to death by his countrymen, who became exasperated with his prophecies and calls for repentance. I am sure a charge of false prophet was leveled against him, and he was put to death, supposedly in accordance with the command of Torah.
Nebuchadnezzar soon came against Egypt, overcame it, and added it as a province to his empire. All that the LORD had declared would come upon the remnant of Judah in Egypt, came upon them: the sword of the Babylonians, and those who were left were taken captive to Babylon, along with captive Egyptians. In Babylon they joined the Jewish captives who had already been taken captive, in three separate campaigns.
The moral of the story: we must pay attention to the desires of our hearts, as they can be life or death to us!
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Pro 4:23