“The Lord says, “The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. If anyone wants to boast, he should boast that he knows and understands me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 GNT
In grade six, I loved to arm wrestle. I didn’t only love it, I was good at it. Whether it was strength or strategy, I do not know, but at the time I had no problem boasting of it as strength. I was quite content to be known for my strength. The problem with this type of thinking is that it places value on the wrong things.
I don’t arm wrestle anymore. It was actually a very short lived season in my life. The problem with placing confidence in external strength and seeing your value wrapped up in that, is that when you meet someone that is stronger than you, all of a sudden your value takes a huge drop.
This is also true of wealth and riches. If I boast today of all the treasure I have gained in the financial realm, but then tomorrow my health fails, I lose my job, or there is a collapse in the economy, then all of my bragging today meant nothing because it had no sustaining power.
The reason we are told not to boast of things like strength and wealth are because anyone that has lived even a few years on this earth knows that to place confidence in either of these things is simply a very unwise choice. However, would we be as quick to say that one who is wise doesn’t have some sort of secure footing? Well, according to this verse, wisdom is not grounds for boasting. Could it be that because any wisdom we gain from books, or life is only wisdom for this moment? For example, ten years ago I may have had a certain level of life experience that would offer me a level of wisdom, but ten years later, life experience has been added to me and my view and perspective of things has changed. What I may have seen as wise then I may not see the same way today. So, to boast of wisdom is to boast of something limited to what I know in the present only. Also, this wisdom I am referring to is still earthly wisdom and not the wisdom that comes from above. This human wisdom is limited.
So, we are told not to boast about our limited wisdom, our temporal strength, nor of our unpredictable treasure. We are to boast about this, “We know God and understand Him.”
Well can anyone truly know and understand God in all that He is?
I see two things here. First, if we are to boast about anything it should be our union with Christ. That is a reason to boast because it will never fade, it is not fickle, unpredictable, but fully reliable. Secondly, if we can’t boast about knowing Him, we have nothing to boast about because everything else fades, while He remains constant.
Today, I am grateful that in all of the things that fade, He remains the same. I boast in this, “His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” My union with Christ is the most valuable thing in my life. I am thankful that while pursuing Him, He makes Himself known and reveals where true boasting should be found.