The concept of street smarts implies that those who have it should be able to read a situation, make a decision based on the information at hand, and this decision should be true and successful. However, there are limitations to street smarts and this plays out in chapter 44 of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah confronts those who have fled Egypt and who want to continue the practices they participated in while in Jerusalem. He informs them that they are in this situation because they have not worshiped the Lord God in Spirit and Truth. Rather, they have burned offerings to the queen of the heavens.

But they respond and say,

"We had food and were safe while we made offerings to the queen of the heavens. So we are going to go back to making offerings to the queen of the heavens."
— Jeremiah 44:15-18

Jeremiah then explains that because of this only a small remnant will come out of Egypt. That most of them will die by the sword.

To be fair, the response of the women and men has some truth to it. From their perspective their is a correlation between the time when they were at peace and had plenty of food and were making offerings to the queen of the heavens.

But herein lies their problem. Their vision is limited to that point in time. It is limited to what they have experienced. As a result they have not taken into account what came before and what will come to be after their actions. Without this there is no way they can have a full understanding of the consequences of their actions in the present. There is no way for them to determine if what they are doing is right and true in the full context of history.

We are not only responsible for what we experience during our life time, but we are also responsible for knowing the history that brought us to where we are and how our actions will impact future generations.

Our actions do not sit in isolation to all other events. The history that brought us to our current situation, and the future that is to come, is connected by the actions we take in the present. Our actions are judged not only for how things work in our present situation, but we are judged for how our actions work in the context of all of history.

This is where the truth of God comes in to play. It is God's truth that speaks not only to the present context, but also includes the past and the future for He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. This is what Jeremiah was attempting to give them. But they chose to live in the limited present. Then they defended this with isolated street smarts.

But street smarts, when isolated from historical context, are not smart at all.

© 2011, VoiceWind. . .Greg Loveless. All rights reserved.

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