Jeremiah 12:14-17 (JDV)
Jeremiah 12:14 This is what Yahveh says: “Concerning all my evil neighbors who attack the inheritance that I bequeathed to my people, Israel, I am about to uproot them from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from them.
Jeremiah 12:15 After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them and return each one to his inheritance and to his land.
Jeremiah 12:16 If they will diligently learn the ways of my people – to swear by my name, ‘As Yahveh lives,’ just as they taught my people to swear by Baal – they will be built up among my people.
Jeremiah 12:17 However, if they will not obey, then I will uproot and destroy that nation.” This is what Yahveh declares.
Here Jeremiah indicates that God has a purpose for the evil neighbors – the Gentile nations that he will use to uproot and exile Israel. They too, will have a second chance. If they “will diligently learn the ways of my people – to swear by my name, ‘As Yahveh lives,’ – then they “will be built up among my people.”
God has a purpose for all of us. he wants all of us to come to the knowledge of his truth and be saved. He cares about us, and he cares about our evil neighbors.
Note that there is no universalism here. God has a purpose for all, but not all will submit to that purpose. Note the conditional statements in verses 16-17. The evil neighbors who repent are compared with those who do not. Only the repentant will be restored. The former will be built up. The latter will be destroyed.
Lord, today we choose to diligently learn the ways of your people. Build us up Lord!