“When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.”
When we think about accomplishing a good work for God, we envision certain things happening. For example, if God tells us proclaim his name to those who do not believe in him and tell of the grace He has shown us, we expect the purpose behind this to be that at least one would turn to him. We want to see immediate fruit produced by the work we do for God, and we want to be able to recognize that fruit. The question is whether we are willing to do God’s work when that fruit does not seem so apparent.
At this point in Isaiah’s ministry, God had given him a number of messages to deliver to his people. These messages were a call to repentance and the acceptance of grace. In today’s verse, God prefaces his words with a rather discouraging truth. Jeremiah is to deliver a message that will not be heard. He is being called to do work that seems like it will not produce fruit. Jeremiah must prophesy punishment and destruction, but it will not bring about repentance. He must merely declare the truth of what is to come for God’s people. It is a word so harsh that it results in a plot to take Jeremiah’s life. And even though not readily apparent, there was a divine purpose to God commanding Jeremiah to prophesy to deaf ears.
Faith like Jeremiah’s rests on the truth of what we know about God and not on the ideas we form about him. Faith like Jeremiah’s does not question God’s motives or methods but simply obeys when God gives the command. When we are called to the awkward or apparently fruitless task, we can seek understanding of God’s ways. But even if we receive no such understanding, we still must act as God commands. Father, give us the faith to follow your commands even when the purpose is not clear to us, trusting that your motives and goals are always pure and perfect.