Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Proverbs 27:1, ESV
Boasting is one of those activities that everyone knows when they hear it. It is not hard to ascertain when someone is boasting about something. Usually, it is about some quality or activity they have performed. For most people, a sudden wave of stomach pain comes over those subjected to such behavior.
The boasting that Solomon has in mind here is not about some past event or behavior performed by the boasting person. No, it is about things they will do or plan to do. The wisdom of this verse reveals several wrong-headed thoughts that render a person of this nature a fool.
First, boasting about tomorrow is to assume you have tomorrow. The fact is that no one knows the day or hour of their death. Tomorrow may never arrive. The day of our end has been eternally etched in God’s immutable timeline, and it will not change. The problem is that most of us give little thought to the day of our eventual death, which is a matter of certainty, not probability. It has been appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). When is the last time you considered that this day might be the last day of your life on this earth? Each of us owes a death, and we will experience it (unless the Lord returns first). No one knows if they have tomorrow.
Second, boasting about tomorrow is to ignore God’s providence in our plans. James writes on this matter in his letter:
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16, ESV)
We may not die tomorrow, but we also do not know what tomorrow will bring. We all make plans. If you are like me, you keep a detailed calendar of events that you must perform and appointments you must keep. Yet, there is no guarantee that those plans made yesterday will be accomplished today because the providence of God may intervene in them, changing them and moving them in another direction. Therefore, we should be mindful of God’s purposes and plans for our life when we make plans for our own. We ought to pray about those plans, committing them to the will of God. We should be careful to reverentially use the language offered by James and say, “if the Lord is willing,” when we commit to others. No, we shouldn’t toss it on the end of our commitments as an escape clause, nor should we toss it in as some sort of superstitious exercise. We should say it, however, with a spirit of reverence and dependence on the God who orders and decrees all things for his glory and our good. I make many plans each week. One thing that is never on my calendar is the death of a loved one or friend, or church member. Yet, God brings many other things into my week that pull me off my plans and place me squarely into his. When you say, “if the Lord wills,” when making plans, you acknowledge your dependence on him and are ready and willing to change your plans when he changes them for you.
Let’s not boast about tomorrow. Instead, let’s boast in the Lord who has ordered our days and governs our lives. He always rules over our plans and, sometimes, overrules them for his purposes.
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