“All the commanders… and all the people… said to Jeremiah the prophet, ‘Pray… that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do… May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord sends you to us. Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God…’
“At the end of ten days… [Jeremiah]… said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord..: If you will remain in this land, I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up… Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid.., for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land. But if you say, “We will not remain in this land,” disobeying the voice of the Lord and saying, ‘No, we will go to Egypt, where we shall not see war or hear the sound of the trumpet or be hungry for bread, and we will dwell there,” then hear the word of the Lord..: If you set your faces to enter Egypt and live there, then the sword that you fear shall overtake you, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die. All the men who set their faces to go to Egypt to live there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence…
“’Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt… The Lord has said.., “Do not go to Egypt.”’
“When Jeremiah finished speaking these words of the Lord their God,.. all the insolent men said, ‘You are telling a lie…’ And they came into Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the Lord.” Jeremiah 42:1-3,5-19; 43:1-2,7
Fear worked dirty tricks among the Israelites. Vowed to seek God’s will and obey, they feared Him not and quickly turned on their greater, inordinate fear of imagined suffering. The war of words between God’s truth and Satan’s lies made tumult of their resolve, distorting perception and obliterating their pledge. Ah, fickle flesh! (Ephesians 6:12)
Man is prone to fear, so God kindly, repeatedly warns against it. Fear muddies our understanding of His goodness and sovereignty. Fear makes where we are not and what we do not have seem better than where we are and what we have. Fear upturns long obedience into impulsive choices.
Where do we act on fear of man and troubles more than God? What bad ideas and false threats instigate wrong fear in us? When are we steeping in the Word to align proper fear of God alone?
Lord, calibrate my fear-meter to Your truth and highness. Keep me reverently fearing You above and instead of anything, for You alone are worthy.