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What is of Greatest Value to You?


Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 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. (Jer 9:23-24)


I want to use our text passage to set a distinction between the men and women who love the Lord, and the men and women who love only the world. I want to use our text passage to remind you and I of the treasures of Heaven as opposed to the treasures of this world. Hopefully, those of us who are saved, will be renewed in our love and dedication to the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, and the Son of God Who is the Saviour of men. Is there anything or anyone else who can compare to the value of such a One? Is there anything or anyone else who is deserving of our attention or our high esteem, except the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven?


As we read our text passage, we find that there are several types of persons mentioned. First, the wise are mentioned, and they rejoice and glory in the wisdom of this world. Second, the mighty man is mentioned, and they trust and magnify the strength of men. Third, the rich are mentioned, and they are enamored by the riches of this mortal realm. These are all spoken of from the negative perspective – the Lord says, “Let not” the wise man glory in his wisdom; “Neither let” the mighty man glory in his might; “Let not” the rich man glory in his riches. Instead of glorying in the wisdom, the might, and the riches of this world, the Lord encourages these to glory in the fact that “he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth…”


As we study this passage, I want to ask you (and myself) the question: “What is of greatest value to you?” Are you glorying in the wisdom, might, and riches of this world? Or, are you glorying in the simple – yet tremendous – truth, that the Lord has made you to know Him, and that you have a personal knowledge of, and relationship with, Jesus Christ? The world if full of people. In the end, though, there are really only two types of people on this earth: those who trust in and glorify the human and mortal aspects of Creation; and those who trust in and glorify the God Who has made all that exists, and Who has bestowed His lovingkindness upon us.


“What is of greatest value to you?” Or, I might ask, “What (or who) do you trust in?” Do you find your greatest pleasures in the things of this life? Do you place your trust and your confidence in yourself, others, or the wisdom, strength, and riches of this world? Today, I want to look at what the Lord had to say to Judah, through the prophet Jeremiah. And, I want to notice how similar his place and time is to ours. In fact, if you study the Book of Jeremiah, you will find a city (Jerusalem) and a people (Judah) who are on the brink of destruction, which could mostly be attributed to their sins, and the fact that they had turned away from God; and yet, they are entirely engrossed in the matters and the pleasures of the flesh, and are deliberately ignorant, and purposely self-blinded to the terrible and imminent destruction which awaits them. There is no hope in the flesh or the things that the flesh values! Our only hope is in the Lord – the Lord of lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness!


The World Values Wisdom, Strength, and Riches


Worldly Wisdom. As we have seen from our text passage, the world places a high value on wisdom. And yet, the wisdom of this world is not the wisdom of God. Notice in our text that the wise man glories in “his wisdom” – this is not the wisdom of the Lord, nor the wisdom of those who know the Lord. Isn’t this true in our world today? Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. (1Cor 3:18-20) This world is only wise to do evil. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (Matt 15:19)


What the world needs, is not more wisdom from men, but rather, the wisdom and knowledge of God – the simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (2Cor 1:12)


Mortal Strength. The world of our day and age – just like the people that Jeremiah ministered to – is also enamored with mortal strength. This strength could be purely physical – notice how many men and women are sucked into the fitness movement, not out of a sense of health and responsible behavior; but out of a desire to accentuate the strength of their own bodies. This strength that the world desires might also be described as a strength or power in our relationship with others. In other words, many exalt and glorify those who rule, or dominate others through their strength of will, or through a domineering and arrogant attitude or demeanor. These are the types of persons that the world looks up to! And yet, this mortal strength will never be enough, when the worst of trials come upon a man. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. (Ps 33:16-17) There was no mortal strength that could save Judah and Jerusalem from Babylon! And there is no mortal strength that can save our Nation from the sin and destruction that we have brought upon our selves! Even less, is there any strength or mortal power that can save any of us when we stand before our Creator in judgment?


 We need to remind ourselves (and others) that the Lord requires that we trust in Him, and in His mercy – not in our own strength. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Ps 147:10-11) Our value and high esteem should be on the fear of the Lord, and the hope that we have in the fact that He is merciful, gracious, and kind to His people. Our mortal strength may be of some value in mere mortal matters, but will avail us not at all, in the salvation and perseverance of our souls!


Earthly Riches. Also, the world that Jeremiah lived in, and the world that we live in is captivated by earthly riches. The societies of men have always been in pursuit of worldly riches, it only seems that from time to time the desire for the pleasures and the things that mortal man values ascends to such a level that a nation or a people is consumed with their own worldly lusts and their own fleshly desires. The treasures of this world seem to be the only thing that many people have a consideration for. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt 6:19-24)


Let me tell you what the Lord Jesus Christ had to say about the riches of this world, and those that earnestly pursue those riches: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matt 19:23-26)


Earthly riches themselves, are not evil; but, it is the love of money that is the root of all evil – a love for oneself, a love for the material over the spiritual, and a selfish attitude, that is at the root of all evil. However, in the case of those who are saved, who also are blessed with riches in this world, Paul had this to say: Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1Tim 6:17-19)


The Elect Should Value the Knowledge of the Lord


I know that we have already covered much of this, but as we move on in this sermon, I want to spend a little time considering what it is that we ought to rightly value. In other words, as the children of God, Who and What should be of greatest value to us? Who or What should be our glory in this life? The wisdom, the might, and the riches of this world may play a role in the success and the happiness of one who is charmed by the world and the affairs of this life. But, these things are not so important to one who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour – at least they shouldn’t be. The Lord Jesus Christ is our wisdom, our strength, and the riches of our salvation.


Well, I want you to be reminded that to know and love the Lord is better than all earthly treasures. The righteous will glory in the knowledge of the Lord. Consider this exchange between our Lord Jesus Christ and Simon Peter, His loving disciple: He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17) Indeed, the glory of the knowledge of the Lord, is not that we know Him, but that He knows us, and makes us to know Him. The glory is His. We love him, because he first loved us. (1John 4:19) Our salvation, our knowledge of God, does not glorify us, it must (and does) glorify God!


We might even go a bit further, and consider the fact that a love for God should intstill a love for God’s Word. The world values earthly wisdom – we value the Word of God. An understanding of the Word of God is our treasure. King David said, Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Ps 119:140)


 To be acquainted with Him and His Ways is our desire. We assemble into the Houses of God, as the Churches of Jesus Christ, in the glorious hope of knowing Him more, and of becoming more like Him. This is true in our day, but it has always been true in the lives of those that serve the Lord – they would assemble together to grow in their knowledge of the Lord. And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. (2Chr 30:22)


So, as our text has told us, the world of men will value and desire earthly wisdom, mortal strength, and worldly riches. However, the children of the Lord will value these attributes of God: Lovingkindness, Judgment, Righteousness. What a glory it is, to consider the Love of God, the Justice of God, and the Righteousness of God! Other peoples and other (false) religions have gods and have systems of worship and have patterns and rules by which they live their lives – but none have such a glorious God as our God, and none have such a glorious and All-Magnificent Saviour as our Lord Jesus Christ! We have much to glory in – though it is not ourselves, and it is not of this world. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2Cor 4:5-7)


If only the world of men would reflect these characteristics of our Creator! The world would be a better place. The world would be rewarded with more of the good things of God, naturally speaking. If there were more love and kindness in the earth – this would please the Lord. If there were judgment and justice among men – this would please the Lord. If there were righteous behavior in the societies of the world – this would please the Lord.


If only the world that we live in, particularly this Nation of the United States of America, would once again be acquainted with God, and would once again show a desire to know Him and honor Him! How much sweeter would this life be! How much more tolerable and just would be the actions of others! Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hos 6:1-3) One day, this time will come for the people of the Lord, the Nation of Israel. I only hope and pray that the Lord will give our people, and our nation, a taste of such glorious knowledge of the Lord! They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:9)



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