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, ESV
What are you excited about? What are you about? Some love sports. Some love learning and reading. Some love theater and the arts. Some absolutely adore music. Some love crafts. Some love success and money. Some love having power. Some love to think about all of the lofty concepts that have ever been though, trying to get their minds around those issues. Some love politics. Some love complaining. Some love helping people while others love tearing others down. But what about you? What are you excited about?
In this passage, God...
1). Gives a warning. He tells Jeremiah to pass on these words. First, don't boast in your wisdom and knowledge. Don't boast in your strength or your power. Don't boast in your wealth. Do not boast in the things that "you have accomplished" or have owned. And of course we obey this, because to disobey this would mean that I am arrogantly bragging about myself. But, do we boast in those things in others. I like sports. I like watching sports, so please do not think that I am anti-sports. But how much of our time (sports fans) is spent bragging and boasting in our favorite teams and/or favorite players and their abilities? How much of our boasting is focused on those who are incredibly physically gifted to play professional sports while neglecting and ignoring the one who actually gave those athletes those gifts and talents?
2). Gives an invitation. Christians, if you want to boast in anything, boast in the fact that you know God. As a pastor it can be such a temptation to boast in the ministry that I am doing rather than boasting in the fact that I know Jesus. Ministry is great so long as my love for Jesus is the motivation for ministering. Think about it: WE GET TO KNOW GOD. And what is he like? He is the LORD "who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth." He is incredible. He is beyond words. His ways are beyond our ability to comprehend. His love for us is so amazing that we have to ask for God's strength to comprehend how deep and wide and vast is his love for us (Ephesians 3:14-21).
And the result of our boasting in God: "For these things I delight, declares the Lord." It makes him happy. And isn't that really the main thing that we want to do?
So if you like sports, great. If you like theater and the arts, wonderful. Music? Fine. But if you find yourself more about these things rather than the God who gifts people to do these things, then you are definitely in the wrong. If you think about it: we shouldn't need to be convinced about how amazing Jesus is. This should be seen by those who claim to love him with everything they have. But it is possible for us to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto the things that he has created. This is just a reminder, one of which I needed to be reminded of myself.
So, if you had the chance to have lunch with Jesus or Kobe, which would you choose?