Saturday, October 07, 2006

Let him who boasts...

Here's another Sunday School verse. You know, one of those things every Sunday School kid memorizes. (Well, if they went to a really good Sunday School they did! ← that's a joke by the way)
Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
but 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 9.23-24
So that's a cool passage. One of the things I noticed about it is that when the Lord identifies himself, "that I am the Lord, who exercises..." the first attribute he mentions is kindness. And people say the Old Testament shows a rigid, vengeful god!

Kindness, justice, and righteousness - in that order -- that's how the Lord identifies himself.

That's all very cool, but I don't think I noticed before this morning what he's talking about in the part immediately before this nice admonition. Verse 22 says that dead bodies of men will be like refuse on the open field and verses 25-26 talk about days when the Lord will punish Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert....

I think this is very interesting, because the Lord is reminding us of his character right in the middle of a passage where he says his character will be, well, less obvious and apparent to us. Is this what faith is about - remembering the truth we know, even when circumstances make it easy to forget?

Come to think of it, boasting in the Lord would be particularly poignant during times of disaster. When things are going well, anybody can say that s/he knows the Lord who brings blessings. But when everybody in sight is getting punished and dead bodies are everywhere -- to say that you know and understand the Lord who exercises kindness? -- that would get people's attention. And either they'd listen, or they'd think you were nuts.

Which I guess is about the size of it today.

No comments: