December 12

Jeremiah 9:23-24 23This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

Jeremiah's prophecies are painful to read. The people of Judah are described as being so hardhearted that nothing will get through to them. Though God refines them by trial after trial, they would not be purified. Though He called to them again and again, they would not listen. They boasted that they knew the Law of God, but they would not obey it. Exile was the only tool left to change them. What a warning for us today!

The LORD told them if they were going to boast about anything, then it should not be their wisdom, or their strength, or their riches. The only thing that man can boast about is knowledge and understanding of the LORD. Knowing His divine attributes of kindness, justice and righteousness is something you can boast about. God delights in those things.

At first glance kindness and justice seem to be in contrast. His justice was sending them into exile, while their soldiers' bodies lay unburied in the fields. Was that kindness? Absolutely! God had tried everything else, and they refused to turn. For the sake of the generations to come, for the sake of the seed that was to bring the Messiah, God's kindness was disaster that cracked their hard hearts.

We should consider that God delights in kindness. He would rather pour blessings upon us for our willingness to hear and obey than to pour the kindness of wrath to wake us from sin.

Consider: Where are you in this picture? Perhaps you can answer with less bias when you consider what you boast about.