A True Knowledge of God.
“But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” – Jeremiah 9:24 NLT
“‘They do not know me,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:3b NLT). Among all the accusations God levels against His people, this is probably the most telling one. It explains their actions and attitudes. It begins to make some sense of the way they had been living their lives and treating their God. They just didn’t know Him. They didn’t know His heart or understand His character. And because they didn’t know Him, they didn’t understand His Law and the reason He had given it in the first place. It just became a list of rules and regulations to keep. It because burdensome and not beneficial. They had somehow mistakenly assumed that because they had the Law, the Temple, and were designated as God’s chosen people, they were safe. Yet God accused them of not even knowing His Law, of desecrating the Temple and of not living lives that reflected their position as His chosen people. Their lifestyles did not reflect a knowledge or understanding of God.
They were more apt to boast in their own wisdom, power and wealth, than in God. They put more confidence in those things than they did in God. But God said that what was really worth boasting about was having a knowledge of Him. They didn’t understand the love of God. The Hebrew word for this kind of love is hesed and it refers to loyalty, loving kindness, steadfast love, unfailing devotion, merciful love. If they truly understood that their God loved in that way, they would have turned back to Him. But instead, they refused to return. They also didn’t understand that their God was a God of justice and righteousness. He had to do what was right. He had to punish sin, but He also had to provide salvation. He had to keep His promises. Because He is righteous. The Hebrew word for righteousness is sedaqa and it carries with it not only the idea of rightness and integrity, but salvation and deliverance. God was going to do what was right on the earth. He would not and could not tolerate sin, injustice, and indifference to His will. But the people of Judah did not understand any of this, because they didn’t really know Him.
They also didn’t know that God expected His people to delight in and live according to these same qualities of love, justice, righteousness, integrity and truth. To truly know God is to put a high value on what He values, and to make them a part of our lives. This is not about what you want or what the world agrees upon as the standard for living, but what the living God of the universe deems of value and worth. It is about knowing and understanding the character and will of God, and making His priorities our own. When we truly know God, we will want to see the character and qualities of God displayed in our own life – unfailing love, justice, mercy, righteousness, and fairness. Our lives will reflect that we know God and love what He loves. One of my favorites prayers in the Bible is a prayer that Paul prayed on behalf of the Christians living in Colossae. He said, “Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need” (Colossians 1:9-11 NLT).
Father, You have chosen to have a relationship with mankind. You have chosen to make Yourself known to us through Your Word and Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have displayed Your character through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You have given us a glimpse into your character through the revelation of Your Word. We have no excuse for not knowing who You are and what You are all about. But give us an increasing desire to know You. To learn to know You better and better. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men