Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not
what a day may bring forth. (Prov 27:1)
Concerning that future, we are prone to fall into two errors with respect to our daily bread. First, we are prone to fret and worry about the future and whether we will receive sufficient daily bread. The Lord admonishes us in Luke 12 that we must not worry ourselves about tomorrow, but rather seek God’s Kingdom first. While seeking God’s kingdom first, leave in the hands of our heavenly Father the concern of granting us our daily bread. Leave in the Lord’s hands what the quantity and the quality of the daily bread will be.
Secondly, we are also prone to fall into the other extreme error of boasting in the future. Against that the text declares, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow!” Instead of boasting of tomorrow and what we think will and must happen, we must rather make our boast only in Jehovah and our Lord Jesus Christ. Thereby we may remain submissive and conscious of the will of His providence and counsel in Jesus Christ upon which we are totally dependent.
Boasting Not of Tomorrow
I. The Admonition
II. The Reason
I. The Admonition
What comes to your mind when you hear that word “tomorrow”? “Tomorrow” brings to mind the many questions we may have about “what shall we eat?”, “what shall we drink?”, or “what shall we wear for clothes?” We often think about the daily bread we will need for tomorrow. There are many things of daily bread which we need for tomorrow in order to fulfill the duties of our station and calling in life.
When we think about tomorrow, we also think about the many means by which our daily bread is given to us by our heavenly Father. Our daily bread does not come to us automatically. By the sweat of our brow, we labor diligently; and, through the means of our diligent care and industry, God provides us with our daily bread. , When we think of tomorrow, we think of all the work we must do to earn our living and paychecks in order to buy the groceries, clothes, gas, and medicine, and to pay for all those various utility, property tax, insurance, and miscellaneous bills.
In addition to that, when we think of tomorrow, we think of our plans for the future of our tomorrow. We have our plans for vacation, family gatherings, weddings, church meetings, conventions, young adults’ retreats, trips, buying, selling, and many other things. Some even plan ahead for their years of retirement. Young people make plans about where they will work after high school or where they might attend college after high school. Many are our plans of today for our future of tomorrow.
Although the world does not want to think about this, yet the wise child of God does think about the fact that the days of our tomorrow are all numbered. In fact, the Bible teaches us that our days of tomorrow are very short. They last as long as the vapor that we exhale from our mouths on a cold, winter morning. Those future days in this earthly life last as long as a piece of grass. Death also belongs to our tomorrow.
When the believer considers tomorrow, he has many spiritual concerns. There are spiritual battles he must face. We think of the coming of the Kingdom and Covenant of God in our future generations. We are concerned for the future prosperity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the earth. We are concerned for the saints who are scattered throughout the earth. We are concerned whether the remnant according to the election of grace will prosper and be preserved in faithfulness until the end.
As we make our many plans in light of the future, we face a serious danger. This serious danger arises in the light of the fact that often our plans and our human predictions do come to pass. Very often our vacation plans do take place just as we planned our vacation many months beforehand. It seems that often on a regular basis that the plans we make for our jobs and our daily routines of home, school, and church life, all come to pass just exactly as we planned. The danger that arises in our hearts is that when our plans seem to come to pass so regularly in our routines, that we soon begin to expect that then everything we plan should and will come to pass.
Beloved congregation, our Father in heaven forbids that we begin to boast about tomorrow, and so expect that tomorrow will occur just as we have planned today.
That does not mean that our heavenly Father forbids that we make plans. When thinking about what should to be done tomorrow, we must make plans. For example, a student in school or in college must study hard today in order to be prepared for the test or the exam that must be written the next day. A mother must bake on a weekday for the future lunches of her husband at work and the children at school.
There are examples of proper planning for the future given to us in Scripture. For 7 years Joseph planned ahead for the terrible 7-year famine that would come after the 7 good years were finished. Hannah planned ahead and diligently used her time with Samuel to present him well-equipped and well-prepared for the service of the Lord in the tabernacle under Eli. For several years thereafter, Hannah sewed and knitted diligently for the goal when she could visit her son, Samuel, in the tabernacle and present him with a new coat every year. Think also of Mary Magdalene. She planned ahead for Jesus’ burial when she anointed Jesus’ feet with precious ointment.
Similarly, we must plan and work for the good goals of tomorrow. God calls you and me to be like the ant, which labors diligently in the summertime in preparation for the winter months. Similarly, God calls us you, children and young people, to train and learn faithfully during the summertime of your life, when learning comes easily, so that you are prepared for your future duties and responsibilities in adult life.
Even though we must make many plans and be prepared, God forbids that we view tomorrow as though it shall certainly be as we have willed and planned it.
We may never assume anything about the future. We may not assume that as we have been in church to worship God today, so we will come again next time to worship in God’s house. We may not assume that since the congregation exists today, so this congregation will continue to exist forever. We may never assume that although today you may be rich, that tomorrow you will still have those riches. We may never assume that when your husband, your wife, or your children, walk out the door to go on a short trip to the store, that he or she will return. A husband and wife may never assume that the child which they are expecting to be born in a short while, will be born healthy or even alive. You may not assume that because you can walk today, you will walk tomorrow. Just because I am healthy and young today, does not mean that I will live to the ripe and full age of 90 years. There are many things in our tomorrow which we may never assume will be or occur as we know it today.
Not only may we not assume anything about tomorrow, the Lord even forbids boasting about tomorrow.
To boast in tomorrow is that sinful activity of one speaking about plans for tomorrow in such a way that he expects that what he has planned for tomorrow will certainly happen. The Lord teaches in the text that all such speaking is boasting b4 Him.
This is how the rich fool of Luke 12 spoke: My fields will produce a great harvest. I will harvest a great crop. I will build bigger barns. I will retire very wealthy. I will enjoy my wealth. I will do this. I will do that tomorrow.
Do we not do the same in different ways? How often do not you and I so casually and thoughtlessly say: “See ya later!” Or, “I will see you tomorrow!”
Is that true? How can you be so sure?
We often hardly give a thought to the fact that we may not see each other later or tomorrow. How easily we boast about tomorrow.
II. The Reason
God admonishes us: Boast not of tomorrow!
Do not boast of tomorrow because you do not know what the day may bring forth! In fact, you cannot know what tomorrow in all reality will bring forth.
That word “know” in the text refers to a special knowledge. This is the special knowledge of the foreknowledge of what will happen in the future. And, it is also that special knowledge which has the power to bring that future to pass exactly as it has been thought out.
Nobody, not even you and I, have that kind of knowledge. We mere creatures cannot peer into the future to know what events will happen in our life tomorrow, and then also have that kind of sovereign and almighty knowledge to bring it to pass.
Instead, our knowledge is very finite and powerless. Our knowledge of the future is limited to the Bible’s prophecy of what will happen in future history as Christ continues to return quickly. Other than that, we do not know what will happen in the future. We sometimes think we do by our plans. But, in reality, we do not know tomorrow. We only know our tomorrow and learn it when what God has willed for us in His secret counsel, He fulfills. By the direction of His hand of providence and by His blessing, we learn what our tomorrow is only when tomorrow becomes our today and our history.
Scripture in other places emphasizes that same truth. For example, in James 4:14 we read, “ye know not what shall be on the morrow.” That means that we do not even know in the morning how our life shall be by the time it is evening. We do not know now whether we will still be married by the end of the today. God may cut that blessed earthly ties to our spouse or to our children by death a little later today. Yes, we have learned that our plans are suddenly changed by a crisis which God brings into our life. We can do a lot of guessing and predicting about our future and tomorrow, but we simply cannot know what shall be on the morrow.
That inability to know what will happen tomorrow is taught clearly these words in the text: “bring forth.” Do you know to what those words refer? Those words, “bring forth”, are referring to the bringing forth of a child by a mother. When the mother is expecting and is close to the time of bringing forth that baby, do the father and mother know what the child will look like? Do they know the child’s personality? Do they know the weight and length of the baby or the amount of hair on the baby’s head? The parents do not know all the details of the child whom the mother will bring forth. Only until the child is born that then the parents know their child.
Similarly, we do not know all the events of our life which the womb of tomorrow will bring forth. All those details are hidden from us. All that we know is that events will come to pass tomorrow. We know that womb of tomorrow will bring forth certain things in our lives. All the details yet remain hidden. Often, those details are a surprise to us. Sometimes they come as a violent shock.
Beloved, only God, your covenant God, has the foreknowledge of your tomorrow. He knows all the details and events of the lives of all mankind. But, He especially knows the details of your life tomorrow.
That foreknowledge is God’s determinate counsel. That counsel is God’s thoughts concerning what must happen. Those thoughts of God concern every creature in His creation. Those thoughts of God are so comprehensive about every creature in His creation, that His thoughts even concern your life, and every single moment of it in this life and in the life to come with Him in glory. Therefore, God knows exactly what belongs to your tomorrow and what the womb of tomorrow will bring forth.
Now, remember, His determinate counsel is also sovereign and almighty. That means that what God so desires the womb of tomorrow to bring forth in your life, that shall surely be done.
You see, the only reason why our plans for tomorrow actually come to pass is that God has sovereignly determined those plans to be in your mind and heart, determined that they would come to pass, and in His power and goodness brought them to pass in your life.
God’s sovereign foreknowledge has mapped out and determined your tomorrow. God has even determined the plans that you make today and whether they will be fulfilled, or whether God in His wisdom has something better for your tomorrow than what you have planned. That foreknowledge of God is all-decisive and all-determinate about your tomorrow.
Are you conscious of that, beloved?
Of that you must be conscious.
Be conscious of that, however, not in terror or fright. Sometimes we are prone to be afraid of what God will do next in our life, especially if we have passed recently through a difficult affliction. After we pass through such difficult tribulation in our life and as we look to the future of our tomorrow, we may view God in a negative attitude and wonder what He will do next to make us suffer. That cynical attitude towards God is sinful. Being afraid or terrified that God will do something terrible to us again is sinful.
Our spiritual attitude towards God’s all-determinative counsel in our life must be childlike submission and godly fear. We must subject ourselves, our life, and our plans to His will consciously. Consciously we must expect that not our will must be done, but God’s will must be done always. We need to be reminded constantly that the only reason that our plans come to pass is that God has both willed us to arrange our plans and has willed that they should come to pass.
The spiritual consideration of that truth and a daily meditation upon God’s sovereign knowledge of our lives is the cure to boasting about what will happen in our tomorrow. Conscious of His sovereign counsel, we will not talk to our friends or family as though what we have planned for tomorrow will surely come to pass and that we have absolute control in our lives. We will then speak humbly before our heavenly Father, remembering that we are only His servants, dependent entirely upon His will and His knowledge of our tomorrow.
That understanding will then leads us to the only boasting about tomorrow that is proper is permissible. Yes, there is one and only one kind of boasting about tomorrow that God permits and in which He delights. God permits that we boast only in Jehovah.
Why may we do that in light of our text? We may and must boast in Jehovah because His knowledge of us and of our tomorrow His foreknowledge in Christ. The Father in heaven knows you in Christ from eternity.
He does not know everyone this way. He does not know the reprobate in Jesus Christ. He knows their tomorrow. He knows how their tomorrow will serve the coming day of the Lord Jesus Christ for the redemption of the Church. But, God only knows the reprobate in His wrath.
But, beloved in the Lord, the Father has known you in Christ. He knows you in that covenantal knowledge of the bond of eternal, sovereign, and electing love in Christ. Around that central and fundamental thought of the Father for you in Christ, He has woven all the details and events of your life that must come to pass everyday of your life, even in all your tomorrows until the day of your death, and then even into the tomorrow of the everlasting day, where you shall be with Christ forever.
In Christ and for His sake, the Father’s purpose in His plan for your tomorrow is to do you good. His goal is to bless you for Christ’s sake. It is His purpose to make all things in your tomorrow serve your salvation. And, the Father knows exactly what you need in your tomorrow in order to serve your salvation and eternal profit.
We do not know what will serve our salvation tomorrow. We simply do not know that. But, the Father knows it, and He will bring it to pass sometimes in the way sometimes that you have planned; but, frequently in the way in which you have not planned.
Now, you ask, “Show me the proof of that gracious purpose of the Father in our tomorrow?”
look to the cross of
Now, the Lord through His Word asks you: “what then is most important thing you need to know about tomorrow and in which to rejoice?”
Surely, it cannot be your plans. Rather, it must be that we know that our tomorrow has been planned by God and that what He has planned is always good. If our tomorrow might happen as we have planned today, yet we may rejoice that it happened as God so willed for our salvation for Christ’s sake. And, if our tomorrow brings forth a shocking tribulation and grievous burden to bear, then we may also learn to rejoice spiritually that our heavenly Father has so willed and brought to pass what we need for our spiritual good.
Therefore, boast not of tomorrow, but rather commit your way of tomorrow unto your heavenly Father.
Make your plans, but subject them consciously to His will.
Don’t run ahead of our heavenly Father with your plans, thinking that you know what is best for you. The Father knows in His wisdom what is best for you.
Be willing and ready to submit to the Father’s changes to yr plans.
Commit all your plans unto the Father today, always including those important words in your thoughts, your hearts, and your prayers: “If the Lord wills” or “God willing”
Then, trust in childlike faith that Jehovah will do all things well tomorrow. Trust that the labors, the preparations, & plans of today, will with His blessing & according to His counsel, serve your good tomorrow. Be assured that whatever the Lord brings to pass in your tomorrow is accomplished by the Lord in His attitude of grace. And, even if God has ordained your death tomorrow, trust that such will serve your inheritance of eternal glory for Christ’s sake and the blessing of those fellow saints whom you may have to leave behind for a little while.
Then, when today becomes tomorrow, even then you have every reason to rejoice in God’s mercies and great faithfulness which will be also tomorrow new.
Therefore, beloved, no matter where God’s hand leads you tomorrow, boast in your God and Savior, that He will fulfill His counsel tomorrow, that He will bless you, and that He will turn all things to your profit for Christ’s sake alone.