But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. — Jeremiah 9:24
Fanny J. Crosby, who lived from 1820 to 1915, wrote more than eight thousand hymns. When she was just a baby, improper treatment of an eye infection left her blind for life. She was only months old when her father died, and then her twenty-one-year-old mother went to work as a maid. Fanny’s grandmother cared for her and gave her Biblical instruction. Their landlady inspired Fanny in Scripture memorization, and sometimes she learned five chapters a week. While she was still young, she knew Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and many Psalms.
As an adult, Fanny sought for and received salvation, and through the years, her hymns have been an evangelistic tool and have touched many hearts. Inspired words seemed to pour out of her; often she wrote six or seven songs in a day. One time, a musician stopped at her home and played a song he had composed. He wanted Fanny to write some words, but he needed to catch a train in less than an hour. Quickly, Fanny wrote the words to “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.”
The focus verse says, “Let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.” Fanny Crosby knew God and His Word. One of the songs she wrote later in her life says,
When my lifework is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see,
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand!
I shall know Him, I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand.(1)
In contrast to Fanny, the people of Judah had ignored God, although they had the opportunity to know His Word. Moses had commanded them to rehearse the Law and to teach it to their children. The prophets had faithfully proclaimed God’s instructions to them, yet they chose to reject God.
Like Fanny Crosby and the people of Judah, each of us has a choice about whether or not we will “know” God. His instructions are available to us in the Bible. He is waiting for us to communicate with Him in prayer. The more we get to know and understand Him, the more we will love Him.
In this chapter, which is a portion of his third sermon, Jeremiah proclaimed three different laments concerning Judah’s sins, and the resulting judgment. He ended with God’s warning that men should not glory in themselves or their accomplishments, because judgment would come to all whose hearts were not right with Him.
Lodging places in the wilderness designated for traveling caravans were common in Jeremiah’s time, and he began his first lament with a yearning to reside in one of these dwellings. The conditions in these places were often filthy and unfavorable, yet Jeremiah stated that it would be better to lodge there than to dwell in adulterous and treacherous Jerusalem. Dishonesty had become commonplace, and no one could be trusted because of the deceit, slander, and duplicitous behavior. God responded to Jeremiah’s grievance by declaring that Judah’s sins had left Him no choice but to send judgment.
Beginning with verse 10, Jeremiah’s second lament was for the land itself, which would become a barren wilderness devoid of birds and livestock. Jerusalem would be a ruinous heap, and the other cities of Judah uninhabitable. The word “dragons” related to jackals, a scavenger animal. God’s response was that the reason for this harsh judgment was because the people had forsaken His Law and walked in the ways of their idolatrous forefathers. “Wormwood” and “gall” were bitter and poisonous herbs, and both words depicted the terrible sorrow and hardship Judah would suffer when the people would be taken captive in a strange land.
In verse 17, Jeremiah’s third lamentation began with a plea for Judah to summon professional mourners to bewail the calamities that would befall its inhabitants (it was common during that time to hire women mourners to sing death dirges at funerals and wail loudly to incite public mourning). Ultimately, the people of Judah would mourn the spoiling of Jerusalem and the loss of their homes. Jeremiah also exhorted the women of Judah to teach their daughters and neighbors the art of wailing because death would come suddenly and unexpectedly, with no possible way of escape — a much greater calamity than having material possessions seized. The men of Judah would die in the fields, and no one would bury them — a grievous violation of the Jewish moral code.
God exhorted the people of Judah not to trust in their own wisdom, military might, or material wealth. The real source of wisdom was in understanding and knowing God and His delight in exercising loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. However, the day would come when God would punish all whose hearts were uncircumcised (unrighteous), and physical circumcision (an act of outer righteousness) would not save them from judgment.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The pronouncement of judgment against Judah
A. The condemnation of the prophet
3. The third sermon: Distortion of worship
b. The declaration of judgment
(5) The evil of the people (9:2-9)
(6) The approach of judgment (9:10-16)
(7) The call for mourning (9:17-22)
c. The review of Judah’s idolatry
(1) The warning to the uncircumcised (9:23-26)
Through reading God’s Word and communicating with Him, we can learn who God is, and how to glory in Him.
1. Fanny J. Crosby, “My Savior First of All,” Public domain.