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The Better Boast


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The Better Boast


Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.
— J.K. Rowling

Psalm 139
Genesis 15
1 Corinthians 13:12

People are impressed with strength, wisdom and riches (not to mention beauty, wit and talent). God is not, unless of course, it is used by Him. The things God delights in are much less visible, much less recognizable, much more difficult to attain, and most importantly, given very little attention in this life.

“Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong man boast in his strength, nor 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 exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord” (Jer. 9:23-24).

Of all the metrics humans have devised to measure (and then compare) one’s wealth and influence, we have yet to invent a measure of how much a person a) understands and b) knows the Lord. Yet understanding and knowing are the very qualities we are instructed in Jeremiah as those most boast-worthy. . .

Perhaps our hands are tied by the English translation of those words. “Understand” and “know” seem fairly common in our Western tradition, but in Hebrew, together these words bear a bit more significance: the Hebrew meaning of yada, “to know” (and “understand, in certain contexts),  goes beyond mere mental knowledge. Yada carries with it a covenant , and was first used in Genesis to describe the intimate relationship of man to his wife. To know is to be joined in physical and spiritual oneness.

But “knowing” is not limited to the intimate, physical realm of marriage. Treaties, official code for covenants, used yada as a way of communicating mutual loyalty from the parties involved in honoring the contract. When God says He “knows” Abraham, it means they are joined in a covenant relationship,  one in which mutual loyalty to the promise resulted in the nation of Israel.

David says it best: “Oh Lord, you have searched me and known have formed my inward parts, and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” We are, down to the molecular level, known and loved by the greatest force in the universe, our Creator.  We can run, but we cannot hide. Adam learned this, Abraham knew this, David knew this, and through getting to the Hebrew origins of the word “know” we can transform our own understanding of what is truly worth boasting about.

So when the disciples returned to Jesus after casting out demons, what did He say?

“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However do not rejoice that spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19-20).

What are we boasting about?
Do we really understand that invisible things are of more eternal consequence than the visible?
Do we care?


© Revolworks 2018