Boasting in God
A daily devotion for August 8th
9 [a]1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
for the slain of my people.
2 Oh, that I had in the desert
a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,
a crowd of unfaithful people.
3 “They make ready their tongue
like a bow, to shoot lies;
it is not by truth
that they triumph[b] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
they do not acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.
4 “Beware of your friends;
do not trust anyone in your clan.
For every one of them is a deceiver,[c]
and every friend a slanderer.
5 Friend deceives friend,
and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie;
they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You[d] live in the midst of deception;
in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.
7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:
“See, I will refine and test them,
for what else can I do
because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,
but in their hearts they set traps for them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?”
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.
They are desolate and untraveled,
and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds have all fled
and the animals are gone.
11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals;
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah
so no one can live there.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”
17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;
send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
and water streams from our eyelids.
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
‘How ruined we are!
How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
because our houses are in ruins.’”
20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
open your ears to the words of his mouth.
Teach your daughters how to wail;
teach one another a lament.
21 Death has climbed in through our windows
and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
and the young men from the public squares.
22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:
“‘Dead bodies will lie
like dung on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
with no one to gather them.’”
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[e] For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
This is what the Lord says:Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
What a revelation of the greatness of God! Far beyond the greatness of men, a God of wisdom and knowledge and power is at work. The prophet's heart was directed to think of that. Man's wisdom is not enough.
Let not the wise boast of their wisdom... Why not? Well, because man's wisdom is always partial wisdom. It never sees the whole story, never is it wide enough to take in all the factors involved. It is tunnel vision, narrow and limited. And that is why we are always thinking we have arrived at solutions to problems only to find in a few years that the
solution has only made the problem worse. Pollution is a case in point, is it not? Warfare, and all the other great problems that confront us today. Man's wisdom is not enough. It is limited.
No, you cannot trust in the wisdom of man, can you? Nor in the might of man —
...let not the strong boast of their strength... Why not? Here is a man with great power and authority, a great force at his command to do what he wants — a dictator, a tyrant. Why does he not have the right to boast? Because his force is directed only at material things. It has no power to oppose an idea or a moral value.
...let not the rich boast of their riches... Why not? Because riches can buy only a very limited number of things. Jesus spoke of the deceitfulness of riches. Riches give a man a feeling of power that he does not really have. They give him a feeling of being loved when he really is not, and of being respected when he is not respected at all. Riches cannot buy love and joy and peace and harmony. Many a rich man would give all he possesses for just a few moments of peace or joy.
Then what should you boast in?
Ah, boast in this, Jeremiah, that you know me, and you have available to you the wisdom of God. True wisdom is the wisdom of God, and you can correct your own faulty, frail human wisdom with my wisdom. You have the might of God at your disposal, greater than anything the world knows anything about, a mighty moral force which is irresistible. You have riches beyond all compare, the simple riches of love and peace and joy and grace and mercy and truth, which no money can buy. Boast in this.
Father, no one has the wisdom to cope with the situations in which we live each day. I pray that I will recognize the essential necessity of you in my life, and will stop boasting in my own resources and boast only in you.
Life Application: Have we discovered that human wisdom and understanding is flawed, inadequate and often deceptive? Do we seek first the wisdom and guidance of God's Spirit, using His Word as our standard?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.