Glorying in the momentary – Part 1
It is hardly surprising that the priorities and values that drive the world differ from that of God. What men esteem, and what they gloat over, hardly count in God’s value chain. God is sovereign and his ways differ from our ways and his thoughts from our thoughts.
The prophet Jeremiah says this much here: “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 – NKJV).
The world gloats over wisdom, might and riches; to the world, these values count and those who possess them are the cynosures of the world. But God says, those things don’t count before me; important as they may seem they are fleeting and transient. Rather, he says men should glory in the fact that they understand and know me, and that he is a God who exercises lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness on the earth. This implies that understanding and knowledge of God is paramount and should precede and supersede any other pursuits and desires on this earth. It should be our overriding priority and interest. When we put God first, all other things would follow.
The English word “know” is a translation of the Greek word ginosko, which means experiential knowing, not an intellectual understanding of facts about God. Knowing God is what the Christian life is all about. Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
Paul’s priority was to know God. As he said, “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11 – NKJV).
Paul’s longing to know Christ is a pointer to how we all can seek to know God. We know God most clearly through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and Paul says, “He is the image of the invisible God,” and ‘in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:15, 19).
Knowing God is a process that may take a whole lifetime; it, however, starts from somewhere. It starts with surrendering one’s life to Jesus and inviting him into our life. It starts with recognising and turning from our sins, in repentance; then the second part is trusting in Jesus and His atoning death on the cross to forgive our sins in faith.
The lives of two Old Testament figures; Moses and David give us a glimpse of how we can grow in our knowledge of God. Moses cried out to God, “If I have found favour in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you,” and God responded with an extraordinary revelation of Himself (Exod. 33:13; 34:7–9). On the other hand, David, cried out to God, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 – NKJV). The hunger for God is a positive step towards knowing God.