The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), the word which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.” – Jeremiah 25:1-3
Many times as a local church pastor I lamented, fussed, and even whined when the dear folks I served did not seem to “get” what I was trying to communicate to them. Of course, some of the time it was my inability to communicate and not their lack of receptivity that presented the greatest problem. Sure, there will always be a few who resist God’s message and a few more who resist it for a time but ultimately yield. I would count myself in that number. On the other hand, Jeremiah knew true hardness of heart. For 23 years he preached and proclaimed God’s Word to an unrepentant Israel with no effect.
Yes, you read that right! For 23 years, Jeremiah spoke the word of the Lord to Judah and they did not listen.
I have had the joy and undeserved privilege of seeing many lives changed by the power and presence of Christ Jesus, our Savior. Like many who serve the Lord, I have also seen extended periods of time when it seemed that no one was listening. Numbers are not meaningless, we must continue to seek to reach as many as possible with the Gospel, but Jeremiah probably thought his ministry was a big “goose-egg” and it was not.
Perhaps, what matters most to God is our faithfulness. Keep speaking, again and again. Some will listen and some will not, but Your Savior hears and is pleased.
God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them. – C.S. Lewis