Sunday, June 19, 2022

“Boast About This” [Matt's Messages]

“Boast About This”
Uprooted - The Words of Jeremiah
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 19, 2022 :: Jeremiah 9:23-24 

We’re looking today at verses 23 and 24.

They follow a pretty gloomy section of Jeremiah, if you remember last week. Gloomy even for Jeremiah! The patient, Judah, was terminal, and their chart said that it was because they had refused to take the right treatment from the Great Physician. The nation of Judah had refused to repent. They had listened to “quack doctors” that told them that everything was going to be okay and there was “peace, peace” when there was no peace. Their wounds were superficial, nothing to worry about.

But there was something to worry about. Their wounds were deadly. Because Judah refused to repent, they were going to be uprooted and sent into exile. 

Judgment was coming, and it was going to be awful. The verses right before these say that death was going to “climb into their windows” and take out their young people. And the bodies of all were going to pile up behind the Grim Reaper. All because they refused to wise up and repent.

So the two verses for today are not so gloomy. They are a lot like a little burst of light into the darkness. But they still do constitute a warning. There is a warning here of how not to live and solid counsel of how to live instead.

And I think they are perfect for Father’s Day. When I saw how the Lord had landed these two verses for Dad Day, I was like, “That’s awesome!”  Because this is a message that most guys need to hear over and over again. I know that I do. And also because this church family is full of men who live out these words faithfully. And so it’s another chance to encourage the guys to keep on going.

And, of course, this words are true for all of us, men or women, boys and girls.

What do you “talk up” all day long?

What do you talk up, all the live the long day?

I don’t mean just, what do you talk about all day. Some of you have jobs where you talk all day long because it’s your job to do that. You talk about your work and the things of your work, and rightly so.

What I mean is what do you talk about when you aren’t talking about what you HAVE to talk about? What do you talk about when you GET to talk about something?

And more than that, not what do you talk down, but what do you talk up?

What do you boast about?

What do you take pride in? What do you praise when you get a moment to praise? What do you brag on? What are you always “selling,” so to speak?

We all have things that we talk up. We’re wired that way. We all have things that we talk up. They are the things we are the most excited about. The things we exult in. And the things we trust in.

We tend to talk up that which we trust in. Right?

Dads, what do your kids talk up? What are their mouths full of, all day long?

Kids, what do your dads talk up? What are their mouths full of, all day long?

Our mouths give us away. We tend to talk up that which we most trust in.

In these two verses, the LORD, through Jeremiah, tells us what to talk up as much as we possibly can. And also what not to.

I lifted the title for this message from three words in verse 24, “Boast About This.” You’re going to boast about something. We all do. We all have things we are trusting in and excited to talk up.

Sometimes literally. What our mouths are constantly filled with. And sometimes our actions speak even louder than our words. We boast with our deeds and our choices and our whole lives. The question is not whether or not we are going to boast, but what we are going to boast about.

One of the great things about this passage is that Jeremiah had done all of my work for me in providing an outline. Verse 23 is point number one. “Don’t boast about these...” And verse 24 is point number two. “Boast about this....” 

And he’s gone to all of the trouble of having three things under each point. There are 3 in verse 23, and there are 3 in verse 24. Thank you, Jeremiah, for that outline! Or actually, thank you, LORD. Because he says twice–at the beginning and then at the end–that this is a message directly from the LORD.

Verse 23, “This is what the LORD says....”
Verse 24, “...declares the LORD.”

If you were wondering if this was important, now you know. The bookends tell us that this is a message directly from the LORD. You and I better listen up.

So we know what to talk up...and what not to.


Listen again to verse 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...”

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Don’t boast about you.

Ok. So, let me ask you a question about verse 23: Are wisdom, strength, and riches bad things? No, of course not. They can become bad things. And they are awful things to ultimately trust in or boast about. But they are not bad things. They are good things.

Wisdom, or skill in living is a great thing. I don’t think this is 100% talking about the exact same thing as Proverbs is often talking about, the kind of spiritual wisdom that begins with the fear the LORD.

But it is talking about some kind of skill at living. Or we might say, “smartness.” Having smarts is a good thing! It’s a gift from God.

And having strength is a good thing. It, too, is a gift from God. Whatever strength we have, and dads are often known for their strength, if a gift from God, and should be a reason for thanksgiving.

Same thing with riches. Money. Is money the root of all evil? No. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. But money itself is good. And it’s great when a dad has some money to loan to his kids or to give to them or to use for their good.

Smarts, strength, and riches are good gifts from a good God. God the Father!

But they make terrible gods themselves.

And we’ve all seen that, right? Have you seen the person that worships their own smarts? “I’m so smart. Did you see what I did there? Did you see what deal I cooked up? Did you see how I outsmarted those other people? Did you catch how great my plan was? I am so wise!” They don’t always say it so crassly, but it’s there.

Or the guy who says, “Check out my strength!” Not just “Look at how much I can bench press,” but “Look at how much clout I have!” “Look what I can do!” “Look how powerful I am.” “I say, ‘Jump,’ and all these people ask, ‘How high?’” People have to say to me, “Yessir.”

And it’s often because of that last category, money. “Money talks!” We say. And if it’s not the size of our bank account, it’s the size of our truck or our house or our book collection or whatever we possess.

Guys are especially prone to this. We feel the need to boast about our savvy, our strength, and our stuff.

And it’s not because we’re so grateful, but because we’re so proud.

As if these things were not gifts of His grace! Don’t boast about you. That’s the point here.

The key word in verse 23 is “HIS.” "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...” You’re not supposed to ignore those things or pretend they don’t exist. 
But you certainly aren’t supposed to trust in them and then boast in them.

How are you doing at that?
If those things were stripped away from you, how would you fare? If you no longer were so smart, so strong, or so rich? How would you be doing?

You see, on the outside, Judah might have looked good. Things might have seemed to be going swimmingly. Plenty of men walking around with skills, strength, and money. But they were headed for disaster because they were trusting in those things which all ultimately let you down.

The LORD, through Jeremiah, says, “Don’t boast in those. They are here today and gone tomorrow. And you didn’t earn them in the first place. They are yours by grace but not by desert. So don’t take credit for them! And don’t trust in them. And so don’t talk them up.”

Instead, “If you feel the need to boast–boast about this...”


Don’t boast about yourself. Boast about the LORD. Look at verse 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.”

Boast about Him. Fill up your mind and your heart with Who God really is and that will come out of your mouth.

This “understanding” and “knowing” in verse 24 is not something that you can become prideful about if you’re doing it right. If you are doing it wrong, it can be like the wisdom of verse 23. People can get proud that they know all about God. I’ve been to Bible School and Seminary (twice!). I know that people can get sinfully proud of their knowledge about God. I have done it myself many times.

But this kind of understanding humbles you. 

And this kind of “knowing” isn’t just “knowing about’” it’s knowing personally. This is relationship language. Remember last week that Jeremiah said that the people of Judah had consistently refused to KNOW THE LORD. They knew lots about Him. They had the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD! And they had the Bible. They had the Law of LORD, the law of the LORD, the law of the LORD!

But they weren’t trusting the LORD or truly knowing Him in personal relationship.

They didn’t “get Him.” 

This kind of understanding and knowledge is a deep heart-level “getting” the LORD. “I get Him. I know what He loves and I love it, too. I know Him, and I know His heart.”

Do you know the LORD and know His heart?

That’s something to trust in and talk up! Not how great you are for “getting Him,” but how great He is for being “got.”

“[L]et him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD...” “I am Yahweh.”

Those words take us back to Exodus 34, don’t they? When Moses said, “Show me your glory!” And the LORD said, “Whoa, buddy. You don’t know what you’re asking, but here’s a glimpse.” And He put Moses in the cleft of the rock and He passed by, and He said His name. “[Yahweh, Yahweh,] the LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exod. 34:6-7).

That’s Who Yahweh is!

And if you know Him?! If you know His heart?!

Dads, this is your number one job as a Christian father. Teach your sons and your daughters who the LORD is and what He loves. 

Jeremiah lists three things: “I am the LORD who exercises: kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight...”

We don’t have to wonder what the LORD loves! We don’t have wonder what the LORD delights in. He tells us right here.

Judah had been willfully ignoring these three things. They weren’t practicing any of those three things. They weren’t walking in the knowledge of the LORD they supposedly belonged to. They were not doing what the LORD delighted in. Read the first 9 chapters we’ve seen so far.

But it’s no secret! Here is His heart: “...I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the LORD.”

That word “kindness” is the Hebrew word “hesed.” We’ve studied it a lot the last few years, especially in the Psalms. It’s very difficult to translate because it’s so good! “Hesed” means more than just kindness but not less. Sometimes we have “lovingkindness.” Or “loyal love.” 

The idea is more like “grace.” God being loyal and devoted and super generous to those with whom He is in covenant, even when they don’t deserve it.

Remember Psalm 136, “His steadfast love endures forever.” That’s the word. “Hesed.” “Steadfast love.” “Divine Kindness.”

But at very the same time, the LORD is no pushover! Verse 24 says that He exercises “justice.” “Mishpat.”

He never does what is wrong. 

And more than that, He always does what is right. He exercises “righteousness.” “Tsedaqah.”

Right judgment and right authority. And right behavior. Covenant keeping faithfulness. God always keeps His promises.

Aren’t you glad that the LORD is like this? “Kindness, justice, and righteousness.”

Aren’t you glad that LORD delights in these things? “Kindness, justice, and righteousness.”

Aren’t you glad that this is what the LORD does every single day? Every single hour? Every single moment? “Kindness, justice, and righteousness.”

Imagine a world where the LORD is unkind, unjust, unrighteous on earth.

I’m so glad we don’t live in that world! This world is hard enough.

But God is good. 

Dads, teach this to your children diligently. Bring them up to know this LORD, with this heart. And, of course, that means you need to have a heart like this yourself. If this is what the LORD delights in and is doing, then you and I should be delighting in it and doing it, as well.

Dads who are kind.
Dads who are just.
Dads who are righteous.

That’s what we need!

Of those three, I think I have needed to learn the most about justice in the last few years, and I have a long way to go.

“Justice” has just been a word out there, and I haven’t given it enough thought. What does it mean for God to be just? What is biblical justice?

What would a just society look like? Where things were made right.

One day, we will know for certain.

Because we know that this is the LORD’s heart! This is the LORD’s character. He exercises justice, and it is His delight!

I love that word “delight!” Don’t you?

These three things are not just things that God is, but that God is passionate about.

God is not just perfect in these three ways, but He is passionate about them.

He loves kindness.
He loves justice.
He loves righteousness.

By the way, do you see what I’m doing here? I’m talking Him up. I’m boasting about the LORD about His heart. Instead of trying to make you impressed by my intellect, my powers of rhetoric, or my  my vast library of commentaries, I’m trying to point you to the LORD and His very heart. I’m trying to do what this passage tells us to do.

And dads out there, this is your number one job, and I know that you’re doing it.

You are trying to live as an example of kindness, justice, and righteousness and to point your kids to the One Who does it perfectly. Keep it up! 

Boast about Him to your kids. No matter how old they are. Or how old you are.

What a potent mixture of virtues, isn’t it? “Kindness, justice, and righteousness.”

I can imagine being really good at some of those but not all of them all at the same time, right? I mean, we who are dads often err on one end of that or the other. Like being kind and forgiving and gracious and generous on the one side. Or being just and righteous and firm and focused on doing what is right and expecting rightness on the other side. Which end do you gravitate towards?

The people of Judah were counting on the LORD being kind, but they were plugging their ears and hoping that He didn’t really care about justice and righteousness.

But Jeremiah was here to tell them that He is all of that!

He is not a doddering Father whom you can take advantage of. He is a consuming fire!

But He is not just a consuming fire. He is also a fountain of grace. He is a generous Father who delights to forgive.

And we who are Christians know this better than Judah ever could. Than even Jeremiah could!

Because we know about Jesus. We know about Yahweh taking on humanity and living out kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth as one of us.

And we know about the Cross! We know how “hesed, mishpat, and tsedaqah” came together at the Cross to bring us to the LORD Himself.

“Judgment and wrath He poured [out Jesus]
Mercy and grace He gave us at the Cross.
I hope that we have not too easily forgotten
That our God is an Awesome God.” [Rich Mullins, modified]

Boast about Him! Boast about this! Talk this up. That you understand and know Jesus.

The Apostle Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...” (Galatians 6:14a, NIV84).

He also quoted Jeremiah 9:24 two times to the Corinthians.  1 Corinthians 1:31 and 2 Corinthians 10:13. 

He said to them, “[Y]ou are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:31, NIV84).

Boast about Him! Talk that up. That you understand and know Jesus.

Assuming, of course, that you do. If you don’t know Jesus yet, don’t let anything stop you.

He invites you to trust Him and what He did on the Cross–that place where “love [hesed] and faithfulness meet together; righteousness [tsadek] and peace kiss each other.” (In the words of Psalm 85:10, NIV84). Jesus invites you to enter into a life-changing relationship with Him and learn His ways and His heart so that you know Him. So that you “get” Him. So that you trust Him.

And so that you then boast about Him all the live the long day.


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "The Word of the LORD Came to Me" - Jeremiah 1:1-19
02. "I Bring Charges Against You" - Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
03. "Return to Me" - Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
04. “Oh My Anguish, My Anguish!” - Jeremiah 4:6-5:31
05. "Ask for the Ancient Paths" - Jeremiah 6:1-30
06. “This Is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!” - Jeremiah 7:1-8:3