Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12
United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt often endured long receiving lines at the White House. As the story is told, he complained that no one paid attention to what was said. So, he decided to experiment at a reception. To everyone who passed down the line and shook his hand, he said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. God bless you, Sir.” It wasn’t until the end of the line, greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”
Do you ever wonder if people are really listening? Or worse, do you fear that God isn’t listening? We can tell if people are listening based on their responses or eye contact. But how do we know if God is listening? Should we rely on feelings? Or see if God answers our prayers?
After seventy years of exile in Babylon, God promised to bring His people back to Jerusalem and secure their future (Jeremiah 29:10–11). When they called upon Him, He heard them (v. 12). They knew that God heard their prayers because He promised to listen. And the same is true for us (1 John 5:14). We don’t need to rely on feelings or wait for a sign to know that God listens to us. He’s promised to listen, and He always keeps His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).
When have you felt that God wasn’t listening? Why did you feel that way?
Dear God, thank You for hearing my prayers, though I may sometimes doubt it. Help me to trust Your promise that You listen to me.
Because the people of Judah had been chronically unfaithful and disobedient (Jeremiah 7:22–26; 11:7–10), God brought a pagan nation from afar to discipline them (1:15–16; 5:15–19; 6:22–23). They’d be exiled to Babylon for seventy years (25:9–11). Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the deportations of the Israelites to Babylon (ch. 52), which included Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1:6). But God didn’t abandon His people in Babylon forever. He promised to bring His people back to the promised land (Jeremiah 29:10). Some eight hundred years earlier, Moses had prophesized the exile and the return (Deuteronomy 30:3–5). Daniel read Jeremiah toward the end of the seventy years of exile, which led him to ask God to act upon His promise to bring the Israelites back to Canaan (Daniel 9:1–4).