“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; 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.” -Jeremiah 9:23-24
Wisdom, might and riches are usually the pursuits and achievements of our hard work and experiences more than they are the results of knowing and understanding the LORD. It’s an honest mistake, too, because as we strive to bring honor to Him, they seem to be noble pursuits. What else brings more security than knowing the right thing to do all the time, or having the strength to handle any adversity, or having enough money to weather every storm?
Here is where temptation lies in wait. What better way to do the right thing for the wrong reasons? Regardless of whether or not a person is religious – these are valuable commodities in our lives. If we pursue these things instead of receive them, we run the risk of becoming like the nation of Judah who was circumcised in the flesh, yet uncircumcised of heart.
We must remember not to get the order of things mixed up. God does indeed give wisdom, strength and riches – but they are gifts, not achievements. They are the result of knowing and understanding who He is and who we are in light of who He is. When we know and understand the LORD, we do not cling or become subservient to wisdom, might or riches. We can remain faithful to Him even when we don’t know what to do, feel weak and worthless, and have little if nothing to give.
When we seek things like wisdom, might, and riches as achievements, they will ultimately dominate us and become gods. We will find our security and salvation in those things and depart from our faith in the LORD. But, when we seek Him first – he adds all of these things unto us. And when we receive what He desires to give (because we have come to know and understand him), we learn the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. Then, and only then, can we do all things through Him who gives us strength and, thus, never exchange the glory of God for that which does not profit.