Delighting God
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Standard; Jer 9:23 Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

I'm glad our pericope chose these two verses out of Jeremiah 9. They are like an oasis in the midst of one of the harshest chapters in all of Scripture. This is not a fun chapter to read and it was not a fun chapter for Jeremiah to report on either. Perhaps this is where he earned the nickname of the “weeping prophet.”

Listen to how he begins the chapter:

 Jer 9:1 Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!
 2 Oh, that I had in the wilderness A lodging place for travelers; That I might leave my people, And go from them! For they are all adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men.

He sees the end of these rebellious people and it makes him want to weep, but he has cried so much that his tears are dried up. In order to have more tears he would need a lake in his head! Oh if only he could get a little cottage up north and get these people out of his mind. They are adulterers! They are having an affair with the world.

V14 "but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,"

They are chasing after false gods, false religion,  and the only rules they are following are the dictates of their emotions, “if it feels good, do it! And they did!

V3 "And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me," says the LORD.

Did you catch that word, “valiant?” God doesn't want his people to just be for the truth, He wants His people to be valiant for the truth! He wants His people to take a stand for truth on the earth. People be long and strong on the truth, it's a sign that you know God! A sign that you are intimately acquainted with Him!

People who know God, don't bounce from evil to evil, rather, like a heat seeking missile,  they are locked on God's truth, and notice the word “proceed” here, that's the way it is when we trade truth for sin, it is a procession that goes from evil to more evil.

The theme of a lack of truth being evidence of a lack of intimacy with God is brought forth again in V6: “Through deceit they refuse to know Me," If you settle for half-truths and lies, you will never be intimate with the Lord.  

Reject truth for the lie and you refuse to know God. We better know truth! What is truth? Jesus said in Jn 17:17, “Thy Word is truth!

 7 Therefore (Because these people have rejected truth) thus says the LORD of hosts: "Behold, I will refine them and try them; (God will judge His people!)
How will He judge them? Well, let's see. He will judge them by bringing drought and famine on the land, even the animals and birds will vacate the premises for lack of sustenance.

V10 - Because they are burned up, So that no one can pass through; Nor can men hear the voice of the cattle. Both the birds of the heavens and the beasts have fled; They are gone.

He will turn their cities into dens of jackals....mob rule, gang rule, slums.  11 "I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals. I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant."

 12 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?

And He wonders aloud, will anyone get it? Will anyone really understand why things aren't going real well?

 13 And 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,
 14 "but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,"  15 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Because of this disregard for God's truth, He will give them plenty to be bitter about. Think of the spiritual implications of a steady diet of bitterness. Not a very pleasant existence is it?  

And if we read on, He'll give them so much to weep about that they will have to hire professional mourners. Death will come to children and young men.....the streets will be void of them.  

v20 “  O women, .......... Teach your daughters wailing, And everyone her neighbor a lamentation.

 21 For death has come through our windows, Has entered our palaces, To kill off the children-no longer to be outside! And the young men-no longer on the streets!  22 Speak, "Thus says the LORD: 'Even the carcasses of men shall fall as refuse on the open field, Like cuttings after the harvester, And no one shall gather them.'"

I read this and can't help but think about the millions of children lost to abortion, lost for pretty much the same reason, we have become a people that buy into lies rather than truth and the slippery slope of  evil to evil continues in the land.

A graphic description of death painted with carcasses that look like bales of hay left behind in a field, with no one left to even bury them. What a frightening word picture left for the people of Jeremiah's day.

So Jeremiah is weeping as he sees the picture. He tells the people what will happen to them unless they repent, and they still refuse to turn. I am reminded of Isaiah's lament, “”Lord, who has believed our report?”
Or as the Apostle Paul stated it in Rom 10:16, “But they have not obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?”

This harsh judgment spoken of by Jeremiah became a reality to these rebels. It really happened. And it happened for a purpose! It was to warn us of an even worse impending judgment, the judgment of the Last Day!.

 1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Jesus could come back at any time and these Old Testament judgments are to serve as reminders for us to be ready!

I get weary sometimes of those letters to the editor who slam God for these judgments that He allowed in the OT, but they are written by the uninformed, and the uninformed fail to see that these judgments  were in reality, warnings for their own soul to turn away from the lie and embrace the truth before it's too late!

Does God get a supernatural kick out of these judgments? Of course not, he does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but unless the wicked turn, they will die, because God is a just God. He loves's part of His character as we shall see in these next verses. And so He presents the way out to these people and even to us today.

 23 Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

Stop thinking that your knowledge will be your savior! Stop thinking that your strength will be your savior! Stop thinking that your wealth will be your savior!  Wisdom, strength, and wealth are nothing apart from God!  If you want to glory in anything let it be this:

 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.

Understand and know God! Wait a minute, who in the world could possibly understand God!   Let's look to Proverbs for help here.

Pr 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Do you want understanding? Then you must have knowledge of the Holy One. You must have an awareness of the Holiness of God! (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.) You must bow your knee and understand that He is the Lord!   That He is holy!

Isaiah was taken up into heaven and brought into the holy presence of God and he immediately became “undone.” He turned to a jellyfish because he saw how sinful he was and how holy God is. And so the first step is to see how far short you fall of the glory of God.
When you understand the holiness of God, you know you will need help to be able to stand in His presence, and stand you must because you do need to “know” Him and be known by Him, “Depart from Me for I never knew you” are words you do not want to hear on Judgment Day!

The only way we can “know”, be intimate,  with a holy God is through faith in Jesus Christ.

Then God gives us a glimpse into His character that should absolutely take our breath away. He doesn't have to tell us what things He delights in. He is Lord! But He does.

Wouldn't it be great if the people you love would tell you the things that bring delight to them? Wouldn't that make shopping for gifts a lot easier! Wouldn't that make you want to provide those things for them?

Look at what delights God! Look what He likes under His Christmas tree! Lovingkindness or mercy. He loves extending mercy to us. Mercy is getting what we don't deserve. This is a source of delight to God, and every time we share the gospel, we give Him an opportunity to be delighted! Every time we extend mercy to others, we are a source of delight to Him as well.

I delight in golfing. It gives me great pleasure when my children willingly delight in the game as well. So God is delighted when we willingly show mercy to others.

God also delights in judgment, no not the frying of a soul, but in the fairness of His actions. In Evangelism explosion, we use to go out and remind people that God is a loving God (merciful) and He doesn't wish for anyone to go to hell, but He is also a just God and must punish sin. (The wages of sin is death) This seems like a real dilemma since we are all sinners.

But God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to take the punishment for our sins and thereby He remains just in His handling of the sin problem, He offers salvation and escape from judgment to those who receive His Son, and to those who reject His Son, He is just in condemning them to hell.

Justice, fairness pleases God, and as His children, we please Him, when we treat others fairly.

God also delights to do righteousness. He delights in the fact that everything He does is right! And He delights to see His children do the same as they live according to His Word.

Be merciful beloved. Be fair in your treatment of others, and live according to His Word. You will bring delight to Him as a proud Father.

Now, remember that just as I know what brings delight to Joanie, I more often than not fall short of doing those things that delight her. I fall short. It's the same with with delighting God. Even though we know what delights Him, we often fall short, and so we need forgiveness for those times and we need the help of the Holy Spirit if we are ever going to be successful at bringing Him delight.

Father, where would we be without Your lovingkindness? Thank you that you delighted in extending mercy to us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You that You delight in standards and fairness. Thank you for laying that standard out for all to see, (I have set My Law before them) and thank You that we are able to meet that standard by Your grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and offering forgiveness when we fail. And thank You Lord, that you delight in righteousness. Oh we fall so far short in righteousness, but thank You that Jesus is our righteousness and that we can indeed bring delight to You when we learn to rely on His wisdom, His strength, and the riches of His grace. Help us Lord to be valiant for Your truth, help us to bring delight to You in all things, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.