Since the wise have rejected the word of the Lord, what wisdom is in them? Jeremiah 8:9  

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1  

Who are the wise that Jeremiah is referring to? This verse comes in the middle of a long poetic section in chapter 8 and 9. Where, according to the NIV text note “Jeremiah resumes his extended commentary on the inevitability of divine judgment against sinners.” Many of the surrounding verses speak of the deceit of those in charge, the way they charge ahead like a horse going into battle. Jeremiah says that God has listened attentively, but the wise do not say what is right.   

Here in verse 9 we see the wise have actually rejected the word of the Lord. The scribes who should know the law have apparently transcribed some of it falsely. Jeremiah speaks of their “lying pens.” They have misinterpreted and manipulated God’s words. Those that should know better have rejected God’s word, they claim to be the wise leaders, but they are not. What kind of an example is that? Just imagine that teachers at a school decided to teach a misinterpretation of the facts – not what we would want children or adults to learn.   

Contrast that with God’s intent as written in Deuteronomy 4:5-6. “See I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me . . . Observe them carefully for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ “ By following the decrees laid out by God, the nation will be seen to be a wise nation. Interesting concept. We often measure wisdom by success on tests, or great words spoken by an orator. There is great wisdom in the Word of God. As the writer of Hebrews says, We need to pay attention and take care not to drift away from the truth.  

Lord, you are the source of all truth and wisdom. We regret that we so often stop paying attention and drift back into our old behaviors and attitudes. Etch your words on our hearts and minds. Grant us discernment to reject the empty words of worldly wisdom. May our thoughts, words, and actions reflect the light of your truth. Amen.   

Chris Gabel