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Investigate the three enticing worlds that threaten our true focus in life from Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Our world is filled with holes, holes that engulf our greatest desires, achievements, and even swallow up our lives. Our Lord warns us of three gaping pits: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches’” (Jeremiah 9:23). ￼Wisdom, might and riches are three great holes that suck the focus of worship from God to man.
Though the word ‘wisdom’ is not used much in modern English, cleverness, insight, knowledge and business skills are. They are perceptional skills through which others and ourselves elevate our view toward ourselves.
Might describes physical strength, stamina, etc., those who can run those triathlons or can threaten to ‘bomb’ or overpower others. Riches consist of wealth in any form, from the simple bank accounts to possessions, stock investments and other investments. There are many other black holes that squelch our adoration for God, who has so abundantly inundated us with many blessings, but these three alert us to their peril.
C.S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia described the entry into Narnia, or any world for that matter, as a pool in which one could enter. As one entered the pool, he or she literally entered the other world. One’s perception of life and existence changed, and so it is with these holes of temptation through which we enter worlds lit by our puffed up praise rather than the light of God’s glory, leaving us only a miserable illusionary darkness to mislead us.￼
Each of these holes has its own mysterious powers attracting us down into its own self-centric world where God does not gain any glory or honor. We need to be cautious how the spirit of accomplishment attempts to draw us under its idolistic power. A subtle thought, causing us to think upon what we did in the acclaim of the world, in comparison to another, urges us to smugly compliment ourselves. That urge is a temptation; acceptance of it becomes sin. Clearly, it is not the wisdom, strength or wealth that is to be disdained; God imparts these gifts. The danger comes from how we become fixed on them apart from the Lord, mistakingly thinking that we have gained them by our own effort.
It is better to use the truths of Jeremiah of 9:24 to positively remind us of the reality of God’s amazing way of working through our lives, “‘But let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.”
To think we can live on our own for a second apart from God and His provision is utter nonsense, from “from Him, through Him and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36). As we remember this truth, we give proper glory to God and escape the enticing powers of accomplishment, and rather continue on as humble stewards of God’s good gifts, seeking to bring Him His proper honor on the earth.
Truly the world, with all of its emphasis on wisdom, strength and riches, are passing away, but God’s glorious kingdom of glory is growing greater as our hearts rejoice in the great Provider. There is a place for pride and boasting, but it is only in the Lord.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16-17, NASB).