In this passage of scripture, Johanan was leading the few remaining Judeans left in Babylon. Exhausted from war and famine, they decided to go to Egypt but they also wanted the Lord to bless their decision. They were not really asking the Lord for wisdom or guidance, because their minds were already made up. Many times business leaders act just like these Judeans. Instead of truly seeking God’s will, they make their decision first and then ask for God’s blessing. Also, many leaders do not want to wait for God’s direction. They want answers and they want them fast! In this passage of scripture, it took 10 days for Jeremiah to hear back from God! Today, if someone doesn’t get an answer in 10 minutes his patience and faith is diminished and he resorts to his own logic. Finally, if the leader does actually receive a word from the Lord and it doesn’t fit in with the plans already made, the leader will just go on and do what he already intended to do.
Leaders must learn to seek and follow the will of the Lord! We can not make decisions first and then ask for God’s blessing! We need to be patient and wait for God’s direction and we must be willing to obey even if it goes against our own plans and desires. Our businesses will prosper when we seek and follow the Lord’s will!
Jeremiah 42 Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go. All right, Jeremiah replied. I will pray to the Lord your God, as you have asked, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you. Then they said to Jeremiah, May the Lord your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us. Ten days later the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah. So he called for Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders, and for all the people, from the least to the greatest. He said to them, You sent me to the Lord, the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply: Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore, says the Lord. For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land. Listen, you remnant of Judah. The Lord has told you: Do not go to Egypt! Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it! And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going.