I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. (Jeremiah 35:17b)
I want to concentrate first on the last part of verse seventeen. The Bible describes many times where God has spoken to specific people. Sometimes individuals, sometimes to cities, sometimes to nations. Often they did hear. Too often, they did not.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28)
I wonder why Jonah has been a favorite example for millennia? Jonah heard, no doubt about that, for he immediately ran away. This disobedience brought some corrective action and Jonah proceeded to Nineveh to preach its destruction. His fears of death from the hearers did not come to pass -- neither did the expected retribution for their sins. Instead, the entire city heard the message and repented, turning to God.
Wow! Hearing and heeding! If that were to occur today, we'd expect rejoicing among believers, wouldn't we? Or would we be as Jonah, dejected and disappointed that God's wrath was turned. There are so very many lessons in this one, small book. Things we would love to have seen.
Jesus knew this about His own ministry: For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:17)
Paul speaks on the same subject:But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Romans 10:21)
Let me suggest that you spend some time in this tenth chapter of Romans. Begin with verse ten and study how Paul quotes from a variety of Old Testament prophets to illustrate God's will.
Have you heard? What's the next step?