Today you should read: Jeremiah 9:17-26
In yesterday’s jumpstart we read the passages that gave Jeremiah the nickname “the weeping prophet.”
Today we will see women and even the rest of Jerusalem join him in that weeping and wailing (vs. 17-19). The women were most likely professional mourners who chanted funeral songs (ESV Study Bible) and God’s people join in the mourning as they finally start to see the sad state God’s people are in, which includes so many dead bodies in the street that it’s compared to a crap-filled field. (vs. 20-22).
The next couple verses (vs. 23-24) are where most believe that Paul received the theme “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” which can be found in 1 Corinthians 1:31 and 2 Corinthians 10:17. These verses seem to be an odd transition for Jeremiah after crying over Israel’s sad state of shame, idolatry and death. I mean where exactly does boasting for the Lord fit into such a sadistic context? Jeremiah encourages Israel and us to boast in a God that practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth (v. 24b). Despite of the rough circumstances, God still loves them, is being just in His judgment on Israel, and is punishing sin because it goes against His holiness and righteousness. Our God does not delight in His people suffering although it many times produces a harvest of fruit (such as sanctification) but delights in the big three things Jeremiah mentions in v. 24 (steadfast love, justice and righteousness).
The last two verses of Jeremiah 9 point to a salvation outside of Israel. Jeremiah warns that there will be a day when all who are physically circumcised will still be punished for their sins because they uncircumcised in the hearts which Paul once again refers to in 1 Corinthians 7 and Romans 2.
So what can we learn from these nine short verses?
1. Do we weep for what God weeps over?
Whenever we refer to Jeremiah as the weeping prophet we usually say it in an effeminate mocking way, which doesn’t give justice to the very heart of what Jeremiah was weeping over. God’s people hardening their hearts and chasing after false idols should break our very own hearts and death is no laughing matter unless you have given your life to the One True God who has conquered it.
2. Can we boast in God’s steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the midst of death all around us?
I believe we live in a culture of death and it can be easy to forget that God loves us in the midst of suffering. Some of that suffering and death is God proving to be just in His actions and not going back on His word concerning His righteousness and punishing sin.
3. Are you focusing too much on the physical signs of righteousness instead of the heart?
It’s very easy when working with teens to judge their spiritual walk based on their actions instead of their heart. A kid can struggle with porn and you can take away his iPhone and computer, but unless you deal with his heart, he is still going to struggle with lust; finding other ways to feed those sinful desires. A teenage girl may read her devotions every day, attend church every Sunday and Tuesday and still not have a thriving relationship with her God because she views those things as a checklist for instant growth instead of spending time with her Heavenly Father and allowing the Gospel she’s reading and hearing about to penetrate her heart. Our actions can be deceiving in both ways, and that’s why we need to consistently preach the Gospel to ourselves and allow it to continually change our hearts so that it overflows to a desire to repent of sin, pursue holiness and spend time with that Jesus of the Gospel, in His Word and at church.
Posted by: Erik Koliser