Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Boasting Tongue - Proverbs

The Boasting Tongue

See Me Strut

By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.  
Proverbs 14:3

The man who boasts about a gift that does not exist is like clouds and wind without rain.
Proverbs 25:14

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-17

Don’t boast about tomorrow,  for you don’t know what a day might bring.  
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth — a stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:1-2

To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.  
Proverbs 8:13

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.
Proverbs 27:2


Boast verb
1 talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about oneself.
2 possess (a feature that is a source of pride).
noun an act of boasting.
derivatives boaster noun boasting adjective boastingly adverb  

                                           Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press

I guess we all know what boasting means.  Many of us, if not all of us, know what it is to boast.  What is wrong with boasting?  The motive for boasting is to promote ourselves. We were made to glorify God.  The major topic of Proverbs is that wisdom comes to he who "fears the Lord." We are to exalt and esteem the Lord, not ourselves.  To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech.  Proverbs 8:13  Charles Swindoll writes: It is subtle how we shine our own halos.  How desperately we want to be noticed! We hint about it, we feed on compliments, we even brag with spiritual phrases, yet we know that our hidden agenda is to exalt ourselves.

Is boasting all that bad?  The Bible repeatedly indicates that it is.  The evils of boasting are found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes ...  Proverbs 6:16-17.   There are seven thing which the Lord hates.  The first on the list is haughty eyes.   Haughty eyes are the eyes of the proud,  hoity-toity, condescending bragger. 

The man who boasts about a gift that does not exist is like clouds and wind without rain.  Proverbs 25:14   This proverb looks to me like it is a completive couplet.  The first part of the couplet, "The man who boasts about a gift that does not exist" is completed in the remainder of the couplet.  The first part, unfortunately sounds like many of our politicians today. They boast and brag about all they will do for us, but the gift never arrives. The word translated as boasts is the Hebrew word .הָלַל halal.  The root word actually means praise,  but in the usage here it means to praise ones self.  In this Proverb it means to foolishly rave about yourself, to make a show, to make a loud noise about yourself. 

In the second part of this couplet we complete the proverb. This same person is like clouds and wind without rain. In this proverb we could say it is a description of a "windbag."  We see clouds and feel the wind so we expect rain.  We have had an unusually dry Spring thus far this year.  Last week I was working to get my garden in shape before my surgery.  I was also hoping to get my wife interested in caring for it while I was recovering.  I had worked most of the day on it.  As I was about to finish the sky became quite dark and the wind began to blow.  I was so grateful for the coming rain.  I sat down on the back patio to rest and enjoy the heralded  rain.  After a while the winds stopped and the skies cleared. the rain never came. My rest was short.  I had to drag out the heavy hose and water the garden.  In Palestine, most rain comes during windy thunderstorms.  In an agricultural culture like Palestine in those days, skies that promised but never produced rain would be a real disappointment It would be much like a boaster that promises a gift but never delivers.  ... They are waterless clouds carried along by winds;...  Jude 1:12  

The wrong way to boast is to boast in ourselves. Boasting in oneself is an expression of pride. The primary purpose in life for the Christian is to glorify God.  We have received everything from God. When we boast in ourselves we are taking praise that belongs to God alone.

Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 9:23-24
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 


A clever commentator says that when he hears some folk blow and brag, he is reminded of the story of the flea who said to the elephant, “Boy, how we shook that bridge when we crossed.” Boasting is seldom associated with real greatness.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, March 7, 1938. 

You are not mature if you have a high esteem of yourself. He who boasts in himself is but a babe in Christ, if indeed he be in Christ at all. Young Christians may think much of themselves. Growing Christians think themselves nothing. Mature Christians know that they are less than nothing. The more holy we are, the more we mourn our infirmities, and the humbler is our estimate of ourselves.
  –– Charles Spurgeon

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