Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - feb 7
- Agnus Dei
- Above All
- Jeremiah 9:12-24Boasting, or bragging, is almost universally accepted as one of mankind’s worst sins. Very few people like to be around others who are constantly talking about themselves and telling others about all their past accomplishments or about all the amazing things they plan to do in the future.And yet, the word “boastful” is probably the best description of our society, second only to “deceitful” which we learned about last week.A boastful person isn’t always verbal. The person who buys a bigger house than he needs, or a newer car to empress his neighbors, may never say a word out loud but he’s communicating in a language everyone understands just the same.So there is a bad kind of boasting, but there’s also a good kind. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:31 “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” But rarely do we consider that the context of Paul’s quote is from the book of Jeremiah.but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.The context of boasting in the Lord is divine judgment.Yes, there is a good kind of boasting which we will explore more in a minute, but this positive command to boast follows several examples of negative boasting.Stubborn HeartsInstead of boasting, God’s people are called to lament. But they they are too “smart” for that.In verse 12 God asks, “Who is the wise man that may understand this?” In other words, “Do you think you have it all figured out? If you do then tell me, why the land is “ruined and laid waste”?In verse 13 God tells us plainly what the reason is:The Lord said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it,And verse 14:but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,”They have broken God’s law but at the root of their disobedience is a stubborn heart that says “I’m right and everyone who disagrees with me, including God, is wrong.” They think their own laws are better than God’s laws.They have stubborn, boastful hearts that are proud of themselves. But what have they accomplished?As we read in previous chapters, they have commited adultery, worshiped idols, slandered others, lied, sacrificed their children, prostituted themselves, been treacherous, practiced racism, commited murder, and rejected the word of God.All of these things are awful, but it’s especially the stubbornness of their hearts that causes God to discipline his people. In verses 15-16 God says he will give them bitter food to eat and poisoned water to drink. He will scatter them among the nations and then finish them off with the sword.Called to LamentSo what does God tell the people to do? It’s implied that they should repent, but God tells Jeremiah specifically to lament, to mourn and grieve.Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; And send for the wailing women, that they may come! “Let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, That our eyes may shed tears And our eyelids flow with water.God says call for the professional mourners. Let them wail and shed tears. In the Middle East when someone died you could hire women to come and wail at the funeral ( I think you still can).But this is probably the last thing someone who doesn’t see their sinfulness will want to do. Those that don’t don’t see themselves as all that bad, or all that spiritually dead, will want to justify their actions, not lament over them.It’s as if God is saying if you’re not going to lament over your sinfulness then have somebody else do it.Mourning was a legitimate profession but not just intended for the pros.Now hear the word of the Lord, O you women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, And everyone her neighbor a dirge.Lamenting was to be done by everyone. He says, “Teach your daughters and neighbors how to wail and sing a dirge.”And if you’re a Christian this too is your calling. Romans 12:5 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”This isn’t talking about putting on a show. Our calling is to feel genuine joy and sadness for others. We are to weep, shed real tears, with others who weep over the consequences of sin.Christians are pretty good at hating sin, especially the sin of others, but we aren’t very good at weeping over sin.Instead we tend to be boastful. Like the proud pharisee we have hearts that thank God “that we are not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterer, or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).We get angry when we catch someone lying or breaking one of the other commandments but how often to we literally weep?Why don’t we weep? It’s because we have stubborn, boastful hearts.Francis Schaeffer, who I think ranks up there with C.S. Lewis in his ability to clearly articulate the state of western culture, said this:"With love we must face squarely the fact that our culture really is under the judgment of God.… We must proclaim the message with tears and give it with love.… It will not do to say these things coldly. Jeremiah cried, and we must cry for the poor lost world, for we are all of one kind.… I must have tears for my kind.” — Francis Schaeffer, Death in the CityWhat is “our kind”? Our kind is stubborn and deceitful, and lost without Christ.The Grim ReaperWithout Christ the future is grim indeed. For Judah and the Israelites, God’s judgment ruins the food and water supplies (Jer 9:15). God’s judgment sends them into exile (Jer 9:16) and destroys the land (Jer 9:19).All of these things are a type of death which is how Jeremiah specifically describes the judgement in verses 21-22.For death has come up through our windows; It has entered our palaces To cut off the children from the streets, The young men from the town squares. Speak, “Thus says the Lord, ‘The corpses of men will fall like dung on the open field, And like the sheaf after the reaper, But no one will gather them.’ ”“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). There is a reason death is sometimes called “the grim reaper.” A reaper is someone who uses a scythe to cut grain. With one fluid motion the reaper mows down the grain and lays them down in a straight swath. Now imagine that same scythe being used to mow down people and the people are just left to rot. That’s a description of the grim reaper and it’s what awaits those with stubborn, boastful hearts.Improper BoastingNow we come to the part we are all familiar with. But remember it comes immediately following God’s words about sin, and judgment, and lamentation:Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;Wise men love to boast about their wisdom.It starts out when we’re very young. “My dad is stronger than your dad. I got an ‘A’ on my art project, what did you get?”As adults our boasting becomes more subtle but it’s still there. “That was a great sermon, I sure hope so and so was listening.” “Isn’t it awful how much those politicians lie? I just don’t understand how they can get away with it.”Ask the typical person in church about some of the controversial issues of our time and you’re not likely to hear a humble answer.Instead you’re more likely to hear dogmatic statements like “The election was stolen.” “Covid-19 was planned by the democrats to cost trump the election.” “Republicans are good, democrats are bad.”Now, the point I’m making isn’t that these statements are all false, that’s a different conversation. The point is that they are usually said in very dogmatic, all knowing, boastful ways. It’s as if the person saying them has some sort of omniscient knowledge equal to that of God.And here’s what Paul says about knowledge:Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.“Knowledge makes arrogant.” What kind of knowledge did they have? If you read ahead to verse 4 you see they had true knowledge about there being no such thing as idols and that there is only one God.So their problem wasn’t that they were necessarily misinformed it was that they were arrogant about it.They had a false pride and a lack of love toward their Christian brothers who weren’t as “informed” as they were. They had a patronizing attitudes: “Oh, you poor person, don’t you know the truth about meat offered to idols?”They didn’t have love and that was the problem. They had proud, boastful hearts which are not justified even when they had the truth.Boasting about what the Bible clearly says is bad enough, but boasting about something we saw on the news, or heard on the radio, or watched in a video on the Internet is even worse.Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;Now, what’s implied by Jeremiah 9:23 is that while we might be tempted to boast of our wisdom remember we don’t know everything, only God does. If we’re tempted to boast about how strong we are, remember how weak we are compared to God. Or, if we’re tempted to boast about our wealth remember, compared to God, we are utterly impoverished.So we may feel smart, strong, or rich, but the truth is we have nothing to boast about.But there is a good type of boasting.Boast About ThisIt seems it’s in our nature to boast about something. So, if we are not to boast about ourselves, then what?but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.Boast about God, himself. Don’t boast about how much you understand and know. Some say, “I read the Bible everyday.” “I’ve memorized this scripture this week.” “I have such a peace this weak.” Those things may be true, but don’t boast about them.Instead, boast about God, and who He is. Boast about his lovingkindness, his justice and righteousness. Delight in those things!I find it interesting when someone says “God is good all the time” and then they proceed to tell about how God has blessed them. Rarely do I hear some say “God is good all the time” and then proceed to tell about their pain and suffering.But God is good even when he administers righteous justice, even when punishes the wicked, even when purifies his people with fiery trials.So, boast in the Lord. Boast that he is good in the good times and the bad.Boast about God who is the creator and sustainer of all things. And boast in the mystery of his lovingkindness towards sinful people.Boast in Christ.Christ is worthy of boasting in a way that cannot be said about any other person. When we boast in Christ we don’t have to worry about exaggerating because He is infinitely deserving of our boasting.Boast in the cross.Paul says in Galatians 6:14But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.Don’t boast in what you know, or what you think you might know, boast in what Christ has done. Boast in Christ who humbly became a man, lived a perfect life, and then volunteered to suffer the wrath of God on the cross for sinners like us.
1 Corinthians 8:1KJV1900
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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