One more day until we celebrate Thanksgiving, and I invite each of you to look at your own life, and as the old hymn goes, "Count your blessings, name them one by one...Count your blessings, see what God has done....Count your blessings; name them one by one....Count your many blessings, see what God has done".
In Jeremiah 9: 17 - 22, God is telling Jeremiah to bring out the wailing women; those who were professional mourners, and for them to teach their daughters to wail, as the condition of the people and the land were like death had swept over them.
I mainly want to focus on the last verses of this chapter, verses 23-26. In my Bible, I had studied these verses before, and have written "Abandonment to Jesus" in the margin.
"This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight", declares the Lord.
'The days are coming", declares the Lord, 'when I will punish all those who are circumsised only in the flesh - Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumsised and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumsised in their heart".
The point I think the Lord is trying to make here is found in verse 24 where he says, "but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me". There is a vast difference in knowing about God and knowing God. The children of God knew about God, and had even had their males circumcised in accordance to Jewish law. The law of circumcision was to be an outward symbol of an inner commitment to the Lord. He tells us that the days are coming when he will punish those who are circumcised only in the flesh.
To bring that to our modern day - those who are not believers; who have not circumcised their hearts by having faith in Jesus as their Lord, will be punished by living all throughout eternity lost and separated from him.
John 17 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible - it is the intercession of Jesus, for those who believe in him. Verse 3 says, "Now this is eternal life: that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent".
It doesn't matter how much one knows about God, or how "religious" one is - those things are good, but they are not what saves. God created us to have a relationship with us - he wants us to know him intimately, as a loving Father, who like it says in verse 24, "I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness".
He wants us to abandon all that we boast of, and lose ourselves in Him. He is the only source of life - the other things that we try to satisfy ourselves with are all counterfeits. They temporarily fill the void, but then as with all other things of the earth - they fade away, and then the search for another new "thing" begins, and it always brings one back to the place of emptiness; always in search of something. The something, the ONLY thing that can fill that void is Jesus.