Thus said the Lord. Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; but let those who boast in this, that they understand and know me. Jeremiah 9:23-24  

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:25 NIV  

We all know people, maybe even ourselves, who like to boast of how wonderful they are. How smart they are, or how much wealth they have. So often we feel like we can boast about something we know or have done, or can do. We are proud of what we have, what we have achieved, all on our own Jeremiah has a message from the Lord about this. He has been preaching doom and gloom for some time in his book. Now the Lord tells him to wrap it up and  let everyone know that their talents and skills, wealth that they boast about will not be what saves them. The talents and skills are gifts from God and the wise man would be truly wise if he understands this. The  Lord clearly says it is not through boasting about anything that they may be proud of. Rather the thing to boast about is their understanding of the Lord, of their knowledge of Him.   

A summary from one commentator says that this is the conclusion of all the prophecies of judgement. “The one way of salvation is to renounce all reliance on the wisdom, greatness, wealth of the world, and to glory only in knowing Jehovah.” [Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers.]  All these things we might boast of in the world are very uncertain. We can certainly lose all our wealth, the mighty age and becomes less mighty, and the wise can lose or misuse their wisdom. Yet the Boasting of the knowledge of God and His work among us will persist. 

Jesus says too what worth is acquiring wealth and power in this world, at the expense of destroying ourselves. What the world values is not necessarily what God values. God values all people, not just those with money, or military might Jesus has just told the disciples about His coming death, and about taking up their cross. Following Jesus may not always be easy. Yet it is the way laid out for us for our salvation. Treasures we build up and store on earth are fleeting; understanding and knowledge of God are forever.   

Gracious God, all that we have is a gift from you. Help us to let go of the things that diminish life and hold tight to the promise of life in you. Thank you for providing for all our needs. Drive us toward the peace of your reign. Prevent us from seeking comfort at the cost of any individual of your creation. Help us all learn to live in liberty together with you forever. Amen  

Chris Gabel