So do not pray for this people…for I will not listen to you

In Is God Ignoring What I Prayed For?, I submitted that there are two reasons that prayers go unanswered. One is that the prayer is not the will of God – that is what is asked for does not align with what God desires. The other is that the prayer is prayed by one whom God does not obligate Himself to respond. The latter was addressed in Is God Ignoring What I Prayed For?. The former is addressed in many places in the Word, but today’s text is Jeremiah 7.

In Jeremiah 7, God is speaking to Jeremiah about the behavior of His people, the Israelites. They were acting like a people who were not his own. The following is a portion of the message God gave to Jeremiah to proclaim to people as he stood at the gate to the Lord’s house, the temple of God. “ If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harmthen I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.” While God outlined several acts that offended Him, the greatest offense is to reject Him as God. Any time that we pursue someone or something as if that person or thing is god, God is highly offended.

In the manner of the Directv commercial, when God has been offended repeatedly, He will deal with you severely. If you don’t want God to deal with you severely, don’t trust in someone or something more than you trust in Him as God. Despite God’s warnings, the Israelites continued in their disobedience. Consequently, God told Jeremiah:

16 So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? 20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be quenched…25 From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers.’…34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.

 God’s patience had run out; He had reached the end of extending grace, so He said, “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you”The converse is that God listens to the prayers of and for those who listen and pay attention to him. The ones who are not stiff-necked (stubbornly disobedient). Matthew Henry says it like this “They set up their own will in competition with the will of God: They hearkened not to God and to his law; they never heeded that; it was to them as if it had never been given or were of no force; they inclined not their ear to attend to it, much less their hearts to comply with it. But they would have their own way, would do as they chose, and not as they were bidden. Their own counsels were their guide, and not the dictates of divine wisdom; that shall be lawful and good with them which they think so, though the word of God says quite contrary.” Basically, they heard God but did their own thing refusing to believe that He would hold them accountable.
God does not listen to those who do not listen to Him. Do you want God to hear your prayer? Listen and take heed to what He has told you to do. Honor God and you will experience the honor of having God hear and respond to your prayers. Otherwise, God will say So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.

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