(4th in a series of seven blogs on Jeremiah 29:10-14)
The Jews went into captivity for 70 years because of their disobedience to God. They expected God to show up and bail them out as He had done so many times in the past. But this time God had a more important lesson for them to learn – to turn to Him and trust Him alone. God sent them a letter through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29, see previous 3 blogs). He tells them He will deliver them eventually, but not quickly (verse 10). He reassures them He has good plans for them, plans to prosper them and not harm them (verse 11). Then He promises He will listen to them – but first He gives a condition.
Jeremiah 29:12 “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” Before He listens to them, they must listen to Him! ‘Then’ He says. It will take 70 years for them to repent and turn to Him. He will answer when they call, but they must call first. Why is it we call on God as a last resort, when our plans and solutions have not worked? Why not call on Him right away? Why does it take us so long, too, to listen to Him?
“I will listen to you” (v. 12) He promises, and what a wonderful promise that is. Can you imagine the God of the universe, the creator of this all, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords listening when you talk to Him? In Hebrew idiom ‘listening’ doesn’t just mean taking in content. It means acting. When we ask a child, ‘do you hear me’ we imply that will he will act on what he hears. God is promising to act on what He hears from us when we call upon Him.
Before God listens to us, though, we must listen to Him. What is more important – what you have to say to God or what God has to say to you? Which do you spend the most time in, telling God what you would like Him to do or listening to what He has to say to you? When you speak to God you aren’t saying anything He doesn’t already know. But when He speaks to you He is conveying information and guidance that is desperately needed. No one likes someone who talks all the time but doesn’t listen, yet often we are like that with God.
Some times God goes to drastic measures to get us to listen when we won’t any other way. That’s why the Jews were in captivity for 70 years. God gave them a major ‘time out’ to get their attention so they would listen to Him. Finally they repented, turned to Him, and reconnected their relationship with Him. Is God listening to you? He will if you listen to Him first. (May 9, 2016 Doylestown, PA)
“These people have ears to hear but they never hear eyes to see, but they never see” (Ezekiel 12:2).
John 16:13 but when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
1 Kings 19:11-13 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
How much time have you spent listening to God today? What about this week?
How important it is to your relationships to listen to people? How important is it to God.
What does it take for God to get your attention so you will listen to Him? What could you do to make sure you listen before it gets to this point?
Spend some time listening to God now – don’t put it off until you have more time or you’ll never do it. God doesn’t give you so much to do that you don’t have time to listen to Him.