Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth
One of the great dangers is to begin to count too heavily about tomorrow – this is going to happen or that is going to happen…
When we boast about what we will accomplish tomorrow, it is even worse. All of our lives are under the sovereign control of God, and we do not really know what will happen tomorrow or what we will accomplish. We can prepare the best we can and we can pray, but ultimately the outcome of tomorrow is in His hands.
We all need a healthy dose of internal realization that it is all whether God wills or if God wills, we will do this or that.
Many people who had great plans on or after September 11 never accomplished them or had their lives forever altered because of the terrorist attack.
This verse is also about being overly proud and bragging about what you are going to do and acting like you are in total charge of your life.
do not boast about tomorrow
This is the practical advice in this proverb. It would seem like pretty obvious advice, but as always the Word holds some surprises and depth that we would not have expected.
Overconfidence about tomorrow and the future is what draws people into many types of foolish and evil behaviors.
The Hebrew word for boast is the word helel for which we get our word halelu which means to praise or exalt. The proverb is saying that one should not praise tomorrow or exalt tomorrow as though that were the solution to all your problems. Tomorrow is not the solution of your problems unless you do something in today.
There are some people who are always living in tomorrow as though that is when their ship will come in and fix all their troubles. Their ship is variously described as a lottery ticket, a handsome rich man, a beautiful woman, a new job, the death of a relative, etc. It is this idea of praising the advance of time as though that were more significant than the blessing of God today and the relationships that can be held and developed today.
While it is important to plan and seek to develop the skills and information that will make the future bright, Solomon is warning us not to embrace the notion that the future will necessarily be bright.
In fact, it is painfully obvious down through history that because of the effects of sin eating away at any and every society, the future becomes bleak when the effects of sin and selfishness reach their zenith in a society. I fear that our society is approaching a point where the moral decay is so great that the future will not be bright.
Some have trusted the future so much that they do not live in the present. Some have planned on money that is coming in the future and spend it multiple times. Some have counted on a relationship in the future and not spent time developing it in the present.
The question that we should ask is what can I do today to make the future bright and what must I do to prepare for the future no matter what takes place?
What is interesting about this proverb is that it speaks against a core value of Americans – trust, exaltation, and belief in the future. Many people have more trust in the future than they have in God. They trust the scientists to develop a cure for diseases and develop flying cars and reduce stress at work and a hundred other things. This trust can become praise and even worship of tomorrow rather than humility before our great God who holds all of our tomorrows.
do not praise tomorrow, praise the God of all tomorrows
Do not believe that tomorrow will actually be better just because it will be tomorrow. All types of things could take place that will make our yesterdays seem better than tomorrow.
Do not praise tomorrow. Instead, work hard to make tomorrow a better place within the moral boundaries of God. If tomorrow is not more moral, then it will not be better but instead worse. Whenever morality is sacrificed to achieve a goal, then the innocent and vulnerable suffer.
for you do not know what a day may bring forth
There are things that are out of your control; people, factors, and decisions that were made that did not consult you.
There is, throughout the proverb, the idea that God and His planning and sovereignty are behind all of our planning. There is something that will happen because you plan it and execute it. But that is not by any stretch all that will happen in the future. There are things that will happen that others plan and execute. Some of those may have an impact on what you plan. There are things that God plans and executes that will happen that impinge upon your plans.
We must maintain a certain level of humility, realizing that the universe does not revolve around us. God did not check with us as to whether it was okay if He allowed this or that or if He did this or that. There will be days when everything you wanted to do will be thwarted by the events of the day. Are you willing to laugh and submit to God who has planned your schedule differently than you did?
*This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.