What Are You Boasting In?

Jeremiah chapters 4-9 are a devastating word against Israel and Judah. Jeremiah repeats the same themes, the same accusations, over and over.

First, Israel and Judah were rebellious. They rejected God’s authority, God’s law, God’s commands, and did what was right in their own eyes.

Second, they refused to repent. Despite God sending prophet after prophet, warning after warning, Israel and Judah continued in their rebellion.

Third, they worshiped idols, false gods, the Baals, and, ultimately, Satan himself. Why do I say they worshiped Satan? Well, he is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning. Jeremiah’s prophecy from the Lord continually says that Israel and Judah were liars and deceivers. And, they were a people of wickedness, evil, injustice, violence – in other words murder. This is the same accusation that Jesus said of them in John 8.

Fourth, wrath would be poured out on them. But, this wrath would be of their own doing. It was the direct result of their own wicked actions. They were going to reap what they had sown. Yes, God was going to allow it and, in that sense, it was his wrath. But, it seems to me that this is more like God stepping out of the way, no longer striving with man, and allowing man to experience the consequences of what they have done.

Fifth, God says this wrath will not come to a full end. It will not end in complete destruction. God is allowing it to go to whatever point is necessary to bring Israel and Judah to repentance. He will chasten them to whatever length necessary to stop their rebellion.

Near the very end of chapter nine God says, “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.”

Israel and Judah, really all men, boast in wisdom, power, and riches. Do we not all seek these things? Is this not what drives the world, governments, corporations, institutions, politics, etc.? Because of their rebellion, these are what Israel and Judah were boasting in. Because of our rebellion, these are things we still boast in today.

But, God says that is not him. The only thing his people boast in is him.

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” – 2 Corinthians 10:17

“So that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” – 1 Corinthians 1:31

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to Lord.” – Galatians 6:14

“If I boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 11:30

The natural man boasts in wisdom, power, and riches. But, God says no. The man who has been crucified with Christ sees that God replaces boasting in wisdom with the practice of steadfast love, boasting in power with justice, and boasting in riches with righteousness. Steadfast love, justice, and righteousness – these are the things God delights in.

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