Best Boast Greatest Treasure
In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever Psalm 44:8
The knowledge of God is our greatest privilege. Hear Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but 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. For in theses things I delight, declares the Lord. (9:23-24)
This declaration is from the same man whose speech had begun with, “Oh that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears”(Jeremiah 9:1). No Ivory-tower theologian or-author was Jeremiah! He was a man suffering for the sake of his people, seeing things with the clarity of one who was an outsider in every society, except in the society of God. He penetrated through all superficialities of life to the heart of the matter. Who cares for the wisdom of this world, or the strength of men, or the riches and fame some attain, if all these things are to be had without knowing God? With devastating honesty, Jeremiah reduced all these things men desire to their proper (and very secondary) place in his “Jeremiad”. Life is only worth boasting about if at its center is the knowledge of God, controlling all our aspirations. That is something to boast about.
What do you and I boast about? What subject of conversation most arouses us and fills our hearts? Do we consider knowing God to be the greatest treasure in the world?
How sensitive are you to this issue? Knowing God is your single greatest privilege as a Christian, and the one that sensitizes you to every other issue of importance. But is this the issue that lies at the center of your thinking?
What is it that excites you? When you think about gathering with the people of God, is your heart stirred? Does your heart race when you pick up your Bible to read? When that moment comes to enter into the throne room in prayer and communion with the Savior does your inner being tremble with anticipation?
I remember as a child on one of those rare occasions that I got to go fishing with my dad. Dad worked 10 hours everyday in a furniture factory and farmed so to take time to fish was a great privilege for me. As I would think about it, I couldn’t sleep. I’d check the time frequently hoping it would be time soon enough to get in dad’s truck and head out to the river. What an anticipated moment this was. Or I remember when Sherry and I met, I was working and living in Beaufort, SC; about a eight hour drive, and every mile closer to Virginia produced a greater desire to see her. By the way, when I’m away for a period of time, it’s still the same.
This is the sense of the questions. What moves you? Throughout the Bible, we read of those people of God who knew this relationship with God. David will express it this way: “As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for You, O God.” Paul will say to us: “That I may know Him”. John, on the Isle of Patmos, tells us: “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” In reading the life story of the saints of old, you find this same desire and delight of the very presence of God.
Many miss this for they have believed that being Christian is some duty or obligation. Church attendance or service is something that is just habit or required. I think this is one of the reasons that they feel anything more than an hour once a week is too much. I don’t know about you, but those things I enjoy cause me to feel that the time spent is usually too little rather that too much. I’m not suggesting that we have long gatherings or lengthy prayer meetings because it’s the proper thing to do. I’m focusing on the time we spend with the Lord.
It’s really like all our other relationships. There are those we have in our life that no matter how much time we spend with them, it’s not enough. There are also those that after the first five minutes, and this is being generous, we’re ready to leave. This is what I’m asking us about our relationship with God. Is is the kind that leaves our mouth dry when we think about meeting with Him, whether in prayer, the Word or the gathering. Even as I am writing this, I’m feeling inadequate trying to express this relationship in words. An old preacher expressed it this way: “It’s better caught than taught”. We may read books on the subject of falling in love but until you experience it yourself, you will never know what it means.
If there’s anything that the pandemic has brought to surface, it’s this desire or the lack thereof for God. As our normal means of worship gatherings and involvement in church activities has ceased, we have had to find new ways to pursue our relationship with Christ. I realize that some of the ways available to us aren’t the ultimate, but having a burning desire to worship and fellowship with God can move us to utilize what’s available until we can do better. As it has been said, a half of a loaf is better than no loaf.
My prayer for us during this time is that we intentionally pursue a deeper relationship with Christ. Sometimes, even in the church community, we get so busy with things that we forget the intimacy of relationship.
One day we will be gathered together in heaven. One day we will see Christ. One day we will touch Him and be touched by Him. One day we will hear His welcome and we will bow before Him in worship. One day we will see and touch those nail scarred hands that were pierced for us . One day we will stand spellbound as those eyes of love look upon us. What a day, glorious day that will be! Until then let our hearts race, our souls tremble, our adrenaline rush, our face flush at the mention of His name. O God, give us a new, overwhelming revelation of who You are and may it set our hearts on fire!
Dr. John Thompson