by Pastor David Groendyk
As we saw at the tail end of chapter 8, so here in chapter 9, we get a sense of how Israel’s sin had an impact on Jeremiah and why he’s called the weeping prophet. There are literally not enough tears in his body to adequately mourn for Israel. He wishes that his whole head were filled with water and that his eyes flowed like a fountain continually, night and day. He is bereaved, heartbroken, and despondent at the punishment poured out on his brothers and sisters. This is the reaction we all ought to have when we see unrepentant sin and its results in others. I distinctly remember sitting in my college dorm room in 2011 when I heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed and President Obama was about to make an announcement on TV. My eyes were fixed on the screen, not really believing what I was hearing. It was a little surreal. After years of hearing bin Laden’s name and hearing about the search for him, deep down I don’t think I ever thought he would be found and captured. It was also a little conflicting. Justice had finally been carried out. That was good. But a sinner had died (by all outward appearances) in his sin, and he was now in hell. “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” (Ezek. 18:23). We are to mourn when a sinner dies in his sin. That’s why Jeremiah is weeping. He knows the eternal consequences of his Israelite brothers and sisters persisting in their sin and not repenting. As much as it is right to desire justice to be carried out, we must also remember that hell is a terrible, terrible place of wrath. Do you grieve like this at unrepentance and God’s wrath being poured out? How does that fuel your desire to evangelize and witness to Christ’s salvation?
The rest of the chapter continues this theme of mourning as well as detailing just how twisted and well-educated these people are in their sinning. Then we get this decree from God’s own mouth in verses 23–24: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Boast not in your wisdom, boast not in your strength, and boast not in your wealth. Boast in the Lord alone, that you know and are in a relationship with the loving, just, and righteous God of the earth. Nothing else matters in your life but the fact that you know this God. The apostle Paul knows this too. He writes in 1 Corinthians 1:30–31: “And because of [God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” It is not our own wisdom or nobility or strength that saves us, as Paul makes a point of earlier in 1 Corinthians 1. To boast in the Lord means nothing less than boasting in Jesus Christ for your salvation. It means boasting in the fact that you are lowly, foolish, and weak, but that God is high, wise, and strong. Nothing else matters but being found in Christ. In what things are you tempted to boast in your life?
The lesson we all need: humility. We are nothing but sinners. Apart from God’s intervention, we would be the nation of Israel perishing in exile. Apart from God’s love that seeks you out, God’s wisdom that makes Christ lowly in order to die on a cross, and God’s righteousness that makes you righteous, you have nothing. Boast in the fact that you know God! Count everything else rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.