Sunday, September 9, 2012

Boasting on the Sabbath

Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain.” Proverbs 25:14


Since I had wished to spend more time on the topic of boasting yesterday, but didn't have the time, my desire to boast all the more on this sabbath made me realize how important it is when we are assembled together as believers to boast in the Lord. In boasting in the Lord, as stated by Psalm 34, the humble hear of it and it should invoke gladness in them.

My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.” Psalm 34:2

And, boasting is just another form of praising God, as it is stated in Psalm 44.

In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever.” Psalm 44:8

But boasting in the Lord verses boast in ourselves can be a rather confusing distinction to make. Consider these very difficult to follow verses uttered by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians:

I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.” 2 Corinthians 11:16-21

What Paul was really trying to say in the above verses is that the “foolish” sounding boasts he was being accused of speaking, may have not been in accordance with how Jesus behaved as He taught and ministered, but his speech was also a far cry in the other direction from the Jewish leaders in the Corinth area who were boasting in their own works and self-proclaimed wisdom. Paul was quick to point out that at least boasting in the Lord, although it may have made him look like a fool, was at least bold speaking for the Lord, unlike the other men who he was comparing himself to.

James also had words for those who tried to look wise in the eyes of others by what they said apart from God. Here is what he had to say:

Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.' But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16

We need to boast in the past, not in the future. On the sabbath we need to think on what the Lord has done in the past week and make those things the objects of our conversations. As I stated above, boasting is a form of praise and what more fitting place to bring God praise and honor but on His day, the Sabbath.

My middle son this evening stated, “It is amazing how much can change in one week.” and I have to agree. As I look back at our past week, there are many new and yet still some consistent things we have to boast in the Lord about as we have seen Him work amongst us. Here are just a few from this past week:
  • He provided bountiful harvests out of our gardens and grass in the pasture for the animals
  • He gave us good heath and safety for our family and our animals, including a cow and heifer that are now bred to have calves in the early summer.
  • He brought a missionary family to us to live in our apartment and with their addition we have all experienced a pervasive joy in uniting our families in Christ.
  • He allowed time away for my husband and daughter so they could get away on a retreat together and grow in the Lord at the same time.
  • He supplied work for the hands of my boys and me as we helped tear out all the carpet in our church to make it ready for the new carpet that is to go down in a few weeks.
  • He brought us a completely wonderful first week back to school and our children showed how the discipline which had been instilled in them during the early years of home schooling are now proving to have been just the right tools for creating rich soul in their hearts for true wisdom to grow.

Yes, this sabbath is a day to boast in the Lord as is every sabbath. I hope you find many things to boast in the Lord about as you think back over your past week. May all the things we have to share with one another just increase our gladness and encourage one another on in the week ahead. We do not want to be like empty clouds as spoken about in Proverbs 25:14 above. Instead we want every utterance from our mouths to bring refreshing rain to those who hear us and hear about the things we have to boast in in the Lord.

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