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) This verse says a lot about human nature. Whether it was ancient Israel, or modern day, boasting is something that comes easy to us. Jeremiah describes here, things that people normally glory in or brag about: their success, strength and wealth. What does it mean to boast or glory in something? It means to delight in, show off and proclaim to others, something that brings you happiness and satisfaction. Is glorying in something wrong?
According to this verse, and many other scriptures, no. In fact, God does not rebuke our instinct to search for glory, but rather seeks to guide that desire to its proper place, glory in God. In other words, the problem that man has is not their longing to glory in something, it’s that we usually glory in the wrong things. The end result is pain and hurt for everyone, and ultimately is sin against our great God.
The good news is this verse gives clear instruction on what we should boast in, the Lord. To boast in God means to take pride in who He is and what He has done for us. The problem with searching for glory in something other than God, is the fact that it is a cheap replacement that has no lasting value. Would you rather boast in your riches, that someday will be passed on to someone else and squandered through generations, or boast in the living Christ that died on the cross for you so that you may have everlasting life with Him? I’ll take the latter. When Jesus resurrected, He conquered death, hell and the grave, and God wants us to celebrate in that. Those who trust in Christ as Lord are cleansed from their sin and have newness of life.
When we boast in God, we are not saying that we are better than others, but expressing our gratitude for His love and grace, and living in a way that honors Him. Delight in the reality that God has love for His people, is just, and righteous. Jeremiah 9:23-24 is a challenge to you and I: do not boast in the temporal things which fade, but boast in the fact that you know God, and most importantly that He knows you. So your next steps are to reflect on the things God has done for you, praise Him for this, and live in a way that brings glory to Him. The Lord delights in steadfast love, justice and righteousness because those are a part of His attributes. And these are the things that he expects to see in his people.
Taryn Hansen is Creative Arts Director at High Sierra Fellowship