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.
Walvord and Zuck (Bible Knowledge Commentary) maintain this is the third of three separate pronouncements from the Lord (9:17-21, 22, 23-24). These pronouncements were preceded by questions from the Lord to Jeremiah. In vs 9 God rhetorically asks Jeremiah should He not punish them, should He not avenge Himself on such a nation that commits such things as they were committing? Jeremiah responded by weeping over the future Babylonian invasion and deportation that will make it desolate and untraveled. God’s response is that He would make it desolate, inhabited only by wild Jackals, due to Israel’s lack of repentance.
To understand the significance of 9:23, we need to understand throughout the book of Jeremiah, God addresses the theme of the so called “wise”. In 4:22 He declares “They are ‘wise’—in doing evil!” In Jeremiah 8:8 He states “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.” He concludes this thought in vs 9 with “The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom is in them?” God asks the question in Jeremiah 9:12 “Who is the man so wise that he can understand this?”, before they can answer the question God explains…they turned from God’s Law and followed Baal’s. Their wholesale sell out is revealed later in chapter 25 when Babylonian’s invasion is becoming a reality because Israel would not repent.
Our memory verse this week is the third pronouncement, a response to what God considered a truly wise man’s response to be. A truly wise man will boast only to the extent of His knowledge and intimate relationship of God that exercises, kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth…for in this He delights. Is this our response to God’s Word?
Isaiah 66:2 is not in any of MacArthur’s top picks but it is one we would do well to remember, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” May this be our attitude about God’s Word, because it is HIS Word.