Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth, a stranger, not thine own lips.
Looking at Proverbs 27 is an excellent way to study the Bible! Although this is true of the entire content of God’s Word, I’ve noticed that Proverbs 27 is packed with wisdom. Again, this is not unique to this chapter of the Bible, but I believe that Proverbs 27 is a very readable, very understandable proverb which people can immediately apply to their lives.
But let’s just look at verse 1 for now. Proverbs 27:1…there is a parallel that comes immediately to mind in James 4:13-15. Our lives are but a vapor. We are here one minute and gone the next. Sure, we all know someone who has lived past an age we think of as very old…but don’t we all know someone…or at least have heard of someone who was gone too quickly from this life as well? Children die daily…there are automobile accidents that take people’s lives. I often think when driving by an accident scene, “I’m sure that person didn’t wake up today and think, ‘Maybe I’m going to get into an accident today.” I’d guess it is a RARE occurrence that someone knows the day they will die.
The point is that we do not know what may come…we ought not even plan for the future too pridefully without qualifying our plans with, as the Lord wills. But maybe the most practical application for the verse is to live each day in such a way so that if it were to be your last, you would not regret it. Please don’t accuse me of a “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” attitude which is clearly looked upon with disdain in scripture. I’m talking about living each day here on Earth for Jesus. Living each day with the realizatioin that He has put you here for a reason, and you ought to be fulfilling that, as grace allows, through your life! I mean acknowledging that the people around you, as well as you, may not be around tomorrow.
Who in your life have you not shared the gospel with yet? How would you feel if tomorrow it was too late? If it was you who died…would the legacy you leave be Christ honoring and Christ proclaiming? Oh that we all might strive for that in our Christian walk, resting on Christ alone for the needed power and grace.
Now onto verse 2. Another verse that forces us to fully trust in God as sovereign. Not only are we NOT to boast of our own future, for we know not what the future holds, but we are not to boast of ourselves at all! In fact, we are commanded to allow a stranger to do our boasting. “But how will people know how great I am if I don’t tell them!” you ask. Oh dear Christian, I am guilty of the same. I don’t know how! How would you cross a sea to escape angry Egyptians, or how would you have a child after your wife is past the age? How can any man get into Heaven? All of these are questions of which the answer is simple, I don’t know, but God will make a way if it is His will. And if it is not, then nevermind it anyway! So should you tell people honestly what you’ve accomplished at work in a job interview, sure, I don’t think this is an admonition against truthfully sharing, especially if asked. But does my wife need to know I emptied the dishwasher, or that it was me that finished the laundry? No, not from my lips. But what if she never finds out? That’s ok…the Lord knows.
As always, we are talking about the heart. The contents of your heart will determine what comes out your mouth. Love of self and pride will result in vain attempts to boost other’s perceptions of you. A love of Christ and desire to glorify God will result in a “He must increase, I must decrease” attitude. Turn to God in prayer if you find that you struggle with this. I don’t think you are unique if you know you need help in this area. I think you will find that the most mature Christians you know, and some of the greatest theologians and preachers you ever heard of also had to wrestle with God and allow Him to replace their pride with an earnest desire to see Him glorified. Please memorize these verses and keep them with you. Read and reread the 27th Proverb. And remember, God is sovereign and He can be trusted with your entire life!