In Jeremiah 42, a remnant of Judah comes to Jeremiah and asks him to pray to God for God to have mercy on them. Jeremiah says he will pray for them and tell them whatever God tells him. The remnant of Judah says that they will do whatever God says, they will obey his voice, whether it is good or bad.
Jeremiah goes away to pray and comes back with a word for them. He tells the remnant that they should stay in the land, Judah, if they want it to go well with them. But, if they decide to not stay in the land, to disobey God, and go to Egypt, then they will be overtaken by the sword and famine, both of which they fear. But, Jeremiah didn’t just give them this word. He continued by saying that God says he poured out his wrath on the remnant while they were in Judah and he will do so when they go to Egypt. Notice that God already knew the remnant of Judah would go to Egypt when he answered them through Jeremiah.
How and why did God know this? Because the remnant did not come to him sincerely. In chapter 43, the remnant said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, “Do not go to Egypt to live there.” The remnant went to Jeremiah seeking God’s mercy with their minds already set on what they wanted. And, that was the only answer they would accept. They were not sincere about doing whatever God told them whether it was good or bad.
In chapter 44, we see that this was because the remnant preferred to trust in all of their idols. Even though God came to them time and time again telling them not to go after those idols and abominations, they did it anyway. They were bringing everything that was going to happen to them upon themselves. The remnant refused to humble themselves before God. They wanted an answer from God that confirmed what they wanted.
Paul writes everything written in the Old Testament is written for our learning. So, what do we learn here? When we come to Jesus we need to come in sincerity and truth. We need to come humbly, truly desiring his will and not our own. The moment we come to Jesus God already knows if we are approaching him humbly or not. Let us take heed in what we ask God to do and how we say we are going to respond.