Maybe I watch too many court room dramas, but as I’m reading in Jeremiah this morning I’m envisioning an unrelenting prosecutor with a seemingly unending closing argument. The indictment against Judah is based on a mountain of evidence. Accused of “perpetual backsliding,” the evidence is presented, again and again, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that “everyone” had turned “to his own course” (8:5-6).
They had forsaken the law of God and thus, were left to their own counsels fashioned according to their own stubborn and evil hearts. The result? They had set themselves on a course of going backward and not forward (9:24). Rather than purpose with holy purpose to follow His ways, they followed their own inclinations which set them on a path of pursuing false gods (9:14).
And with self determination and corrupt worship, came corrupt practices. Everyone deceived their neighbors. No one spoke truth (9:5). Greed for unjust gain was the consuming motivator. And that, says the Lord, had become the operational reality for “everyone”, from the least to the greatest (9:10).
And yet, unlike the TV courtroom prosecutor concerned only with getting a conviction and sending the bad guys away for a long, long, time, God relentlessly presents His case that His people might humbly amend their ways (7:3). He is prepared to punish their sin, that it might refine their souls (9:7). While He speaks with unmatched and unchallenged authority, He weeps with a broken heart as He looks upon His people’s demise (9:1). With justice, there is a desire for mercy.
Thus, amidst prosecutorial fervor there comes a tenderhearted plea.
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)
Of all the motivators in life–wisdom, power, riches . . . and let’s add to that family, promotions, pleasures, and toys–to understand and know God is the only one worth glorying in. Because to know God, to know what delights Him, is to set right the foundation for the pursuit of all other things. When He becomes our true North, navigating everything else allows us to move forward and not backward.
But that the God of creation, the Maker of the universe, the Sovereign over all things could be known should, in and of itself, spike our awe-o-meter. That a mere man might be confident in boasting that, in some measure, they can comprehend an eternal God? What’s that about?!?
But that’s exactly what’s happening this morning as I drink some coffee and hover over His word. I’m continuing to get to know and understand the God who allows me to call Him, my God.
As in Ecclesiastes I’m reminded that God makes everything beautiful in its time and has put eternity into the heart’s of men and women (Eccl. 3.11). As I behold the Lamb of God in John’s gospel and wonder again at Messiah arriving incognito so that men might “find Him” rather than bursting on the seen in heavenly glory so that no one could miss Him (Jn. 3:36, 41). As I’m reminded by James that God has chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (Ja. 2:5). And even as I listen in, like a fly on the wall, as God, through His appointed prosecutor, Jeremiah, reveals His holy, holy, holy character as He indicts His people, that they might return to Him.
In all this, gaining some understanding of the LORD of heaven and earth. Aided by His illuminating Spirit, knowing more and more of that which delights Him. Believing that through a dynamic I cannot see, He is continuing to transform me through the renewing of my mind with His living and active Word.
What grace! To Him be all the glory!