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The Real Thing

The real basis for boasting and pleasing God

Text: Jeremiah 9: 23, 24

Dr Alex Tang

Text: Jeremiah 9: 23, 24

 

Text

23 This is what the LORD says:

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,

24 but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

 

Sermon Statement

To boast of our wisdom, strength, or wealth is baseless. The real basis for any boasting is knowing God and exercising His kind of kindness, justice and righteousness on earth now.

 

Introduction

The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied during the darkest days of Judah, the southern kingdom before the fall and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 BC), thus marking the end of the Israelite kingdoms. Israel, the northern kingdom has been carried into exile by the Assyrian earlier.

The book of Jeremiah is a record of God’s warning to Judah to repent or God will send punishment and exile.

The summary statement of the book (according to Rick Griffiths, Singapore Bible College) is “ Jeremiah prophesies at great personal cost the deserved fall of Jerusalem, seventy year captivity, judgment of the Gentiles, and restoration under a new covenant, to give hope and exhort Judah to accept God’s inevitable judgment by yielding to Babylon” (OT Survey. Vol.2, p.474).

The structure of the book is as follows:

 

Chapter 7-10 documents Jeremiah’s temple address which aimed to convince people of  (1) their false dependence on the temple, and (2) the nation’s idolatry worship of other Gods.

Jer. 9: 23  This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches,

The people actually thought they were doing well because they had been going to the temple and participating in its rituals. They also thought that they would be safe because the temple is in Jerusalem and as the temple is where the glory of God is, it would not fall. Because of this sense of security, they thought that it would be acceptable to add on the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth in addition to temple worship. With this spiritual protection, they are proud that they are wise, strong and rich. Jeremiah exposed their hypocrisy.

Jeremiah commented,

  JER 8:8 " `How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?  9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?

  JER 8:10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.

  From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.

  JER 8:11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace.

The real reason to boast is given in Jer. 9:24

24 but let him who boasts boast about this:

that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

Instead a person should boast only to the extent that he understands and knows God. Again the word ”know“ (yāa‘) pictured an intimate knowledge of God. God wanted the people to be intimately acquainted with His kindness, justice, and righteousness. “Kindness” (ese) refers to God’s loyal love (cf. 31:3; 33:11; Lam. 3:22). God would stand by His commitment to His people.

“Justice” (mišpo) is a broad term that pointed to governing justly. God would vindicate the innocent and punish the guilty.

“Righteousness” (eāqâh) conveys the idea of conforming to a standard or norm. God’s standards of conduct were supposed to be Israel’s norm. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (1142). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

 

The real way to please God is to

(1)   understand and know (yāa‘)God

(2)   exercise God’s kindness (ese)

(3)   exercise God’s justice  (mišpo)

(4)   exercise God’s righteousness (eāqâh)

 

Seven Ways for us to Please God

  1. To understand and know God we must know His word
  2. To understand and know God we must know His created order
  3. To understand and know God we must pray
  4. We must be kind to others
    1. Polite
    2. Respect
  5. We must be kind to ourselves
    1. Accept who we are
    2. Change what can be change
    3. Follow your calling
    4. Never be afraid to fail
  6. We must seek justice
    1. Help the poor
    2. Defend the oppressed
    3. Be involved with nation building
  7. We must live with integrity
    1. Honesty
    2. moral

The real basis for boasting is Jesus Christ. Christ, sent by the Father to open the way for us to go back to God. Christ who gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us to please God.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

 

download powerpoint here

download sermon (mp3) here

               

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