Thus says the Lord, “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
Men like to brag. There’s no two ways about it. We are a bragging breed. Jeremiah knew that and when he wrote these words, the wisdom of men had failed them. Israel had indulged in great sin and Jeremiah announced that their sin would lead to sure and certain destruction–if they didn’t repent. To repent is to turn from, to walk away from, to quit something. It is a change of mind which results in a change of behavior. Repentance is a process, but it begins with an attitude change–the realization that sin is sin and must be abandoned.
What was their sin? Pride. Self-centeredness. Self sufficiency.
What was the solution to their pride? Take pride (the right kind) in this: that we get to know God, the Creator of the universe! The Redeemer of humankind. The Author of Salvation.
But we can’t stop there. Our ability to know God is only trumped by his delight in knowing us! J.I. Packer said it well in his classic work, “Knowing God,”
What matters supremely is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind.
All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is not a moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
Keep bragging. But brag about this. That you know God. And don’t stop there. Brag about the reality that He knows you–and knowing you for however long He has known you–He still wants to know you.