October 6, 2021

Jeremiah 9:23-24
This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
    or the strong boast of their strength
    or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

On Monday we looked at the opening phrase from Psalm 135. Today we look at a passage in Jeremiah. Of note is that the Hebrew root of the words “praise” from Psalm 135 and “boast” from this passage are identical. As Pastor Sung Kim explained in the online service, a significant part of the command to praise is essentially to boast of what God has done. In that light, this passage in Jeremiah has parallels for us when we consider living a worshipful life.
There is nothing wrong with wisdom, strength, or riches. In fact, they weren’t even neutral in the mind of Jeremiah or his listeners. Each was considered a sign of God’s favor. But something changes when we praise the gift instead of the giver. Imagine someone gave you an unbelievably nice car. How rude would it be to go around town boasting about how great your car is, without acknowledging the one who paid for it and gave it to you?
To cloud the picture, wisdom, strength, and riches are all things that can be improved and increased through focus and hard work. In the car example, imagine you did quite a bit of work on the car yourself. You gave it a custom paint job and souped up the engine. You changed the oil regularly and upgraded the exhaust. It becomes quite a bit easier to brag about the car now that your fingerprints are all over it. But it doesn’t change the fact that the car was, and still is, a gift.
Today, take a look at what is going well in your life. Take stock of the things you have worked hard for and rightfully enjoy. Are you able to peel back the layers, and acknowledge the giver who made those things possible? Your capacity for work, your intelligence, and your grit are all gifts. To see them as such should cause you and I to boast about the giver.
Posted in