“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.” (Jeremiah 7:27)
Before leaving this passage, I just wanted to offer my thoughts on something that is both obvious and strange about this verse.
It is God speaking. He is speaking to His prophet Jeremiah. And His message is simply: “Go warn my people… but, they won’t listen.”
Yesterday, we addressed this verse from the prophet’s perspective. He was ordered to go and do something that would not succeed. He was destined to fail before he ever spoke a word. Yet, he went anyway.
The lesson for us is obvious. We cannot control the results of what we are asked to do – we are just asked to be faithful to do what we are told. That is such a hard lesson for us – but it is foundational for Kingdom living. Our task is just to be diligent and faithful – and leave all the results to God.
But what about this verse… from God’s perspective. God already knows what is going to happen before He ever commands Jeremiah to go and proclaim His message of warning.
So why bother? What is the reason for sending the prophet, when the message he brings will NOT be received. Why does God do something so (seemingly) pointless?
As I think about this… I came up with two reasons (I’m certain there are others!).
First, because God IS love (1 John 4:8, 16), He must always display the aspects of love’s character. And what is love’s character?
Even when love is not reciprocated or it is rejected… love must express it’s undying faithfulness, loyalty, and relentless hope. Love doesn’t just love when it knows it will be received and respected. Love loves even when there is no chance for it to be returned. It’s almost as if love cannot help itself… but love.
Even though God knew the outcome in advance, His enduring love compelled Him to send out words of warning and hope. Love could do no less.
Second, God also knew that, eventually (after a lot of brokenness and heartache), His people would come to their senses and return to Him.
In those wonderful moments of restoration, God’s people could reflect back on what God’s love compelled Him to do – even when all hope was gone: God was still reaching out to His people, calling them to turn their hearts back to Him.
It is the evidence of God’s commitment to His people – to plead with them even though they had zero intention of listening to His voice.
It strikes me that there may be some who are reading these words and wondering if it is possible for God to forgive you for the horrible or shameful things you have done. I have tremendous news. God has not rejected you – even if you are suffering the consequences for your actions. His message of hope is still for you – even if your situation may seem hopeless.
God loves you with an everlasting love. He cannot unlove you. Because He IS love. And when anyone turns their hearts back to Him, He is always waiting with open arms!