To Know God is to emulate God. This is the very essence of godliness–being God-like. There are two main challenges to this: What is God like? What does God do? These questions are where our theology steps in and helps us to walk as Christ would have us to walk. My study of theology is not a means to an end, but a beginning of a walk. We need to understand who God is and how He acts towards His people and mankind more generally.
In Jeremiah 22:16, Jehoiakim is brought face to face with this very issue. As king of Judah, he mirrors very narrowly the King of Kings. Accordingly, Jehoiakim is asked to consider how God rules as Sovereign. His father, Josiah, understood and ruled accordingly, Jehoiakim has done nothing of the sort. There are many ways in which we can describe the reign of God but for Jehoiakim’s sake two issues are brought front and center: justice and care for the needy.
These are issues that we still wrestle with today. Doing what is right and measuring out just sentences for what is wrong. Christ, while He was on this earth noted that the poor “you have with you always”. No matter how hard economists and academics and politicians try, poor people will always be around us. Their poverty may be relative to either little abundance or great abundance, but it will exist. How we treat them and view them will answer a great deal about what we know of God. The question that God asks of Jehoiakim still rings in our ears today: “is not that what it means to know Me?”