Proverbs 27-29
(Do Not Boast About Tomorrow)
July 8th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow;
   you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow

- Proverbs 27:1 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

Themes in Proverbs chapter 27 include humility and trust in relationships. The chapter begins with a phrase that is referenced twice in the New Testament:

    Do not boast about tomorrow,
       for you do not know what a day may bring.

    - Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)

The second verse in this chapter provides further instruction in humility by advising the reader to let others praise us (instead of doing it ourselves). The guidance or feedback we receive from trustworthy friends is noted in several verses. For example, verse 7 says “Better is open rebuke than hidden love (Prov 27:5 - NIV)” and verse 17 reports that “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prov 27:17 - NIV).”

The last set of verses in this chapter encourages people to be diligent. “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks (Prov 27:23 - NIV),” and trust that the LORD will provide. Consequently, “you will have plenty of goat’s milk to feed you and your family and…your servant girls (Prov 27:27-NIV).”

Two of the key themes in chapters 28 and 29 are rulers and judges - two roles that are closely linked in the Old Testament history and in descriptions of our Creator, who is the ultimate Ruler and the Supreme Judge. For example, see the translation from The Message for verse 2 in chapter 28:

    When the country is in chaos,
       everybody has a plan to fix it—
    But it takes a leader of real understanding
       to straighten things out.

    - Proverbs 28:2 (MSG)

Hmm. Everybody has a plan to fix it. Sounds relevant for troubled times in our own era, doesn't it?

We want to be sure to avoid opposing the one with real understanding, don't we? Verse 3 observes that a wicked (or oppressive or poor) ruler is "like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest (Prov 28:3 - MSG).” The next six verses include explanations of the relationship between rebellion and disregard for the law, noting that those who ignore or don't understand God's laws (instructions) are effectively praising the wicked, but those who do understand will do what is right. Verse 9 reminds the audience that those who refuse to listen to God's word will be ignored. The King James Version says that these prayers are an abomination and the NIV says they are detestable to God.

Note the connection between verse 28:12, 28:28 (which is the last one in chapter 28 ), and 29:2. These verses all point out that the people can distinguish between the wicked and the righteous. When the wicked rule, then people hide and groan, but when good people win everyone rejoices.

Whereas rebellion leads to a succession of many rulers, stability is achieved by a king who applies justice. This point is made in versus 4 and 14 of chapter 29: “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever (Prov 29:14 - KJV)”

The penultimate verse in chapter 29 and in this collection of chapters reminds the reader of the ultimate source of justice: “Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice. (Prov 29:26 -NIV).”

Reflection and Application

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” advised Jesus in Matthew 6:34 (NIV). The verse in Proverbs 27:1 is a good reminder to us of a similar principle, “Do not boast about tomorrow.” When we combine these two principles, we realize that we should not worry about tomorrow nor boast about it. If the principles are applied correctly then we will prevent ourselves from boasting or worrying about today and yesterday as well.

Our credibility will be that much higher if we avoid self-boasting and let others praise us. Of course, there are some times when we need to promote ourselves, such as when we interview for a job. In that case, we should bind ourselves by the facts and use anecdotes of our accomplishments and quotes from former employers and clients.

When we have friends that we trust, we can count on them to give us praise as merited, but to also gently rebuke us and hold us accountable. We can do the same for them and thereby strengthen one another as “iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17 - NIV).”

We can’t expect to always see justice done on earth, because there are wicked rulers everywhere who don’t understand what justice means, and there are guilty people who appear to get away with murder, even after facing a trial and judgment by a jury of peers. There may have been recent court cases that bring to mind some of the Proverbs from this section, such as, "If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable (Prov 28:9 - NIV).”

We can work for justice and ensure that we treat others fairly, but can only expect a fair hearing when we approach the LORD. In that court, we should be sure to tell the whole truth, because the judge already knows it. If we confess our guilt, then the wrong-doing will be erased from the books.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions

    1. What have been some of your best job interview scenarios (as the interviewee)?
    2. What does it mean to not boast about tomorrow? What are some of the things we might say that would be contrary to this proverb?
    3. Who can you depend on to help you sharpen your iron?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, you are merciful judge. Help us to follow your instruction and come to you with confession when we fall short.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Iron Workers

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Proverbs 30-31 (The More You Know)

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