“The Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now …’ ‘Yet you have not listened to Me,’ says the Lord” Jeremiah 25:4-7
It isn’t unusual for people who faithfully share the Gospel of Christ to be concerned at the deafness of those with whom they share. Sometimes Christians may think that they are the problem and become discouraged in speaking of our Lord and Saviour. We may think that no one is interested. That is, of course, wrong thinking; it is the outcome of believing something that is not true. There are people who are ready to hear the Good News.
Jeremiah writes that he faithfully proclaimed the word of God for twenty three years (Jeremiah 25:3) without national response. He was ostracized, imprisoned, mocked and threatened with death for his efforts. Was there something wrong with the message, the messenger or the audience? Though it has never been the case we seem to have the wrong expectation that the world will welcome the Gospel of Christ. Jesus said otherwise. Our message may be faithful and we may be faithful in our presentation (and we must ensure these) but there is still the matter of the hearers. The wonderful thing is that we are privileged to be part of the process of a person coming to and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. The angels in heaven are still daily rejoicing over sinners who repent.
The world may assess success based on numbers or economics but the Lord assesses success on faithfulness. Whenever the Gospel is faithfully presented the Lord is glorified in the world regardless of the response but He is glorified in a very special way when a person repents.
Only a true and intimate relationship with the Lord kept Jeremiah faithfully proclaiming all the words that the Lord had given him even in the face of death threats (Jeremiah 26:11-13). There were times that he was despondent and depressed but the Lord revived him and gave him another word to speak and he spoke it. The people hated and despised him for the messages he brought from the Lord but he persisted for more than the twenty three years mentioned here.
Was he a failure? The answer to this is clearly, No. The Lord told Jeremiah to tell the people of Judah that individuals who defected to Nebuchadnezzar would not be killed but preserved ready to return to their land seventy years later (Jeremiah 21:8-10; 25:11). All those who heard the word of the Lord, believed it and acted upon it were saved. The majority refused to do this and perished. Those who acted on the word of God that he spoke certainly recognized that he had successfully fulfilled his mission.
This is still a valid picture for people today. We may faithfully proclaim Christ with seemingly little response but for the sake of those who do hear, believe and act, we must persist. For their sake we press on faithfully proclaiming Jesus Christ.
There was a day many years ago when a man and his wife invited me to their home and faithfully shared the Gospel with me. Even if I was the only person who ever responded to their sharing it was worth it to me and I love them for it. Let us continue to faithfully preach the Gospel of Christ and surely there will be those who will respond. What if you were that one longing for the word of truth?