What do you value the most? ∙
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. – Jeremiah 9:24
23 Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches.
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
Tribal thinking is a basic instinct. People are inherently tribal. “Humans find meaning in belonging to a group, adhering to an ideology, identifying with a religion, culture or merely a conviction” (theconversation.com). Being tribal provides a sense of belonging that makes us feel safe and secure within our “tribe.” We inherently want to hang with our “kind.”
We get so blinded by our personal tribal zeal that we support anything our side says or does. In sports, our guys are always fair, and the other guys are always cheating, playing dirty, or whining. We see it in family loyalty, where we think our loved ones are superior and morally upright even when they are not. We see this in politics.
Tribalism is now called identity politics.
Identity politics is politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, class, gender, cultural identity, or other identifying factor form their own exclusive socio-political alliances. They create their own group identity. They take great pride in their group identity, providing a sense of uniqueness, belonging, recognition, and unity. Their group identity is an essential expression of their worldview and core values. They tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any other political group. There is no shortage of blinded loyalty to their group identity.
I think this is very simple to understand. We want to feel good about ourselves and our tribe. So, we identify things we value regarding ourselves, our family, and those that think or act like us. Tribalism leads to boasting about our side and the things we value while disdaining other points of view or people.
Our standards are often derived from social customs or community consensus. We settle for so little when we could have so much. Our standards are too low. Jeremiah raises the bar.
The Father speaking through Jeremiah is crystal clear about priorities, loyalties, and where our boasting should be focused.
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 – Jeremiah 9:24.
Our identity and satisfaction should come because we know and understand the Father who is and practices loyal love and justice, and righteousness on the earth. Identifying with and knowing the Father in this way changes us. We take on His values and learn to practice His ways.
Intelligence, power, and riches all give human beings the illusion of being in control, but the illusion always ends. When we put our confidence in God alone, however, we find something worth our boasting (Stanley).
REFLECT & PRAY
So much of our lives is about misplaced values and loyalties. We fall into conceit and pride regarding things that have no lasting value. The Father offers a more excellent way.
Father encourage me to know You and emulate Your values and ways.
Jeremiah 9:24 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.
Jeremiah 9:24 is a concise summary of Israel’s religion at its highest. For Israel, true religion consisted of acknowledging the sovereignty of God over all of life and allowing Him to produce the qualities that mark Him in the lives of all His people (Constable).
The truth is, we all desire to boast. It is part of human nature. Jeremiah is saying that if people want to boast, here is what they can boast about: understanding and knowing the Father well enough to recognize what He delights in and values the most: lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness.
The Hebrew word translated as loving-kindness, loyal, steadfast, or unfailing love is hesed. It has a sense of loyalty and love, unfailing devotion, and consistent merciful compassion.
If you know and understand the Father’s heart and have experienced hesed, boast in that.
“No amount of education, power, or wealth – three things the world today depends on and boasts about – can guarantee the blessing of God. God doesn’t delight in a nation’s learning, political influence, armies, or gross national product. He delights in a people who practice kindness, justice, and righteousness because they know and fear the Lord” (Wiersbe).
Being a child of the King provides us with no assurance of spiritual understanding, intimacy, or the Father’s blessing. However, when we come to know the Father’s heart and understand His ways, we can choose to become like Him. We can commit to being loyal and devoted to Him. Intimacy will flow out of our commitment and closeness to Him.
The Father takes great delight in His children when they practice kindness, justice, and righteousness.
© Dr. H 2022