Day 27: Not boasting of tomorrow (27:1)
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”
Today’s chapter contains several blessed thoughts we cannot do justice to. What we will do is to consider our text, which reinforces an earlier similar thought: “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps” (16:9) and two further texts; all three are often quoted. Most of us are guilty of boasting about tomorrow before it happens, thinking we have everything worked at and things will turn out as we hope for. As far as Solomon was concerned, that is foolishness, for we cannot predict what is going to happen and we all probably have found that what happens is not what we expect. The right approach is to live each moment for God. This is brought home in Jesus parable of a man who knocks down his barns to build bigger ones so eventually he can take it easy. He ends: “But God said unto him, thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” Luke 9:16-21.
Our second text is: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (27:6), preceded by: “Open rebuke is better than secret love” (27:5). Friends who look out for us our precious, especially if their concern is such that they will tell us where we are going wrong if that is what we are doing. We ought to be thankful for that even if our initial response is to feel hurt. In contrast there are those who flatter us, even when we are doing wrong, because such actions are deceitful, and by continuing along such a path unchecked will no doubt be ruinous. We need to be the sort of friend that tells it as it is (caution: there are ways to do this) and prize friends who do so to us. Our third text is: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (27:17). If we are going to be useful and effective in life and in God’s service, we need to be sharp and ready to respond, so we can handle whatever life throws up in the best possible way. There are ways to help achieve this, such as reading the Bible and prayer but another way is being encouraged by another person, and often this is something we can reciprocate. How often can we look back in gratitude when someone has spoken a timely word or done something that has somehow invigorated us when we needed it most. Just as earlier with the friend who puts us straight, even if it is wounding us, so we also can appreciate the friend who sharpens us, and we can be that friend to others.
Prayer: We thank you that you hold the keys to all unknown. May we never take for granted what we have or presume for the future. May we be a faithful friend who will tell things as they are and be an encourager to other people.