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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 12:14-17

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, October 17, 2014

14 This is what the LORD says: As for my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance I gave my people Israel, I will uproot them from their land, and I will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 After I have uprooted them, I will once again have compassion on them. I will return each of them back to his own inheritance and each of them to his land. 16 If they carefully learn the ways of my people and swear by my name saying, “As surely as the LORD lives” (just as they once taught my people to swear by Baal), then they will be established among my people. 17 But if they do not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy that nation, declares the LORD.

When Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet, the Lord said, “Today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to root up and to tear down” (Jeremiah 1:10). Here the Lord returns to that calling, and uses language that would be echoed again by Jesus in his parable of the weeds:

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:27-30)

Here, if the nations repent of their sins (that is, the Moabites, Ammonites and others who raided Judah prior to the exile), then their own exile into Babylon would be cut short by the Lord. If not, they would suffer the fate Jesus describes in the parable of the weeds: They would be gathered together to be burned—a clear picture of eternal destruction and punishment in hell.

Yet even here, there is compassion. God promises to restore even Israel’s enemies if they show their faith and, as Paul said, “prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20). It is not our deeds that save us, but our deeds are the public testimony of our faith. Jesus said, “Let you light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). You have been rescued from sin and unbelief by the gift of faith in Jesus. Praise God for all his gifts, and don’t hide them away.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.