Probably you have heard this story before but here it goes again: A tale involving a frog prone to self-boasting, and his two crane friends. These three planned to “live happily together ever after” in their pond that overflowed with rich flora and fauna. But this was sadly not to be (sic). In due course, on account of a severe drought, the pond was on the verge of drying up. This left the three friends with no option but to migrate to a different place. But herein lie the problem. While it would be easy for the feathery duo to happily fly away to “greener pastures” so to speak, it would be improbable for their hopper friend to cover the miles required to reach the same “safer zone”. Now, as the inseparable friends pooled their minds together on how to ensure all three arrived safely at another pond, hey presto…one of the webbed footed ones weaved together a brainy plan: The cranes would carry a stick in their beaks whilst flying, and Mr. Brilliant would latch onto the stick with his “big” mouth.
So on the appointed day, the trio took off. All was going well until they flew past a nearby drought-hit village. The people, upon seeing this strange sight, wondered aloud as to who was the “Mastermind” behind this “Great Escape” plan. There are no prizes for guessing what happened…. Mindlessly, the “high-flying” boastful hero opened his mouth to become…to put it mildly…a big zero thereafter.
Even as we smile at this story, doesn’t honesty compel us to admit that we, too, are prone to blowing our own trumpets at times? In this series of 3 parts, yours truly will endeavor to give a boost, as it were, for not boasting unnecessarily, by bringing out the Biblical mandate (through some Biblical illustrations) on what is required before boasting is appropriate. In addition, we will see that there are times when we need to silently be thankful to the Lord, as He, alone, is the source behind every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). Now consider this Scripture…
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT)
Firstly, let’s see what we ought not to boast about, and then towards the end, we will look at what we need to be trumpeting about. As ever, the best wine in the spiritual realm always is reserved for the last (John 2:10 TLB)!
Welcome to Mr. Judas of Old Testament times (Psalm 55:12-14). If Judas betrayed the Son of David in New Testament times, who then was his predecessor who betrayed the original David in the Old Testament dispensation? Meet Mr. Ahithophel, who the infallible Scripture says was so wise that he not only occupied the highly responsible post of being one of the Counsellors of King David (1 Chro 27:33), but who would also always speak words that were brimming with the Lord’s wisdom (2 Sam 16:23).
If the good Lord can raise and depose Kings depending upon their humble submission to Him (Dan 5:17-28), then by the same token it follows that the good Lord can use a person’s wisdom not only to further his career’s ambitions, but also to frustrate them. The difference depends upon the concerned individual’s humble relationship with Him.
What happened to Ahithopel’s famed wisdom when it was used wrongfully in trying to settle scores with the Anointed One-King David? You see Ahithopel was peeved with the David’s lamentable affair with his granddaughter Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:3/2 Sam 23:34). As a result, his “wisdom” became “folly” in the eyes of the very one (Absalom) he had joined hands with in rebellion against King David. Why? Because he was now counseling in flagrant violation (2 Sam 17:14) of the Lord’s will! I reiterate, going against the anointed ones, even if they are in the wrong, will ensure the Lord’s wrath. We need to let the Almighty handle the matter, for He is able to punish them justly (See1 Sam 24:6/1 Sam 26:9-11/Romans 12:19). And what was the end result of Ahithophel’s betrayal of King David by switching sides? Very much like Judas, frustration led to suicide, and there, too, we see a distinct similarity: by hanging (2 Sam 17:23)!
Beware folks. Wisdom minus the right relationship with the Giver of it can lead to one’s doom.
Prayer: Father, even as You bless us with Your problem-solving abilities, help us to always remember the fact that we have received the same only from Your gracious Hands. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “A Boost for NOT Boasting” mini-series, please click here.)