WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 8, 2020
TOPIC: STOP BRAGGING!
BY T. O. BANSO
“You tell every bragger, ‘Stop bragging!’ And to the wicked you say, ‘Don’t boast of your power! Stop bragging! Quit telling me how great you are” (Psalm 75:4-5 Contemporary English Version).
When David was very old, Adonijah, his oldest surviving son, “began boasting. ‘I will make myself king’” (1 Kings 1:5 New Living Translation). The New King James Version says he “exalted himself, saying, ‘I will be king.’” Did you see that? He exalted himself. Don’t exalt yourself. Let God exalt you.
Matthew 23:12 says whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11 and Luke 18:14 say a similar thing. Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18a). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5).
Adonijah started bragging that he would be king. He made every preparation to make his big plan a reality. He was a child left to himself (Proverbs 29:15). He was never disciplined by his father (1 Kings 1:6). So he went about his plan and provided himself with chariots and horses and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. He actually succeeded in getting himself proclaimed as king, but he never sat on the throne!
In fact, as Adonijah and his guests were finishing their banquet, the news reached them that David had made Solomon king. David checkmated him and stopped his bragging. His inordinate ambition was truncated.
Recalling his failed attempt to become king, he told Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the LORD” (1 Kings 2:15-16 New King James Version).
Please take note of that phrase: for it was his from the LORD. Adonijah bragged and tried to put himself on the throne with the help of his supporters, but that throne had been given by the LORD to Solomon. Therefore, Adonijah failed. His request later to Solomon, through Bathsheba, to allow him to have Abishag, the Shunammite, David’s young widow, as his wife made Solomon kill him. He saw it as an indirect aim at the throne, which he had once failed to secure (verses 17-25).
Avoid bragging. If you are a bragger, stop it. It leads to shame, destruction, failure, etc. Don’t exalt yourself to a place God may not have given you. Don’t brag and say I will do this or that with an air of arrogance as if you are not a human being with limitations. Have you considered that there are other factors outside your control? All other things are not always equal! That’s why you should humble yourself.
Even if you have the backing of the most powerful president on earth, that is no reason to brag. Someone who is in charge today may have promised you something, but that is not a reason you should brag. He is a human being and he doesn’t have everything under his control. For instance, he doesn’t own his life.
I was told the story of someone who promised his friend he would support him financially in the burial of his elder brother. Unfortunately, shortly after he made the promise, he died. He couldn’t fulfil his promise. Suppose the person he promised had been bragging! I cannot remember if this man was even buried before his friend’s brother.
Let the person who wants to help and the person who has been assured of help not brag. “Stop putting your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. How can they be of help to anyone?” (Isaiah 2:22 New Living Translation). Even if someone who has promised to help does not die, he could be handicapped by unforeseen circumstances. There are cases where people who promised to use their positions to help others lost their positions before they could help. Suddenly the person who promised to help needed help!
The president has limitations. God can stop him. He can frustrate his plans. In fact, He can take away his breath. I remember a very nice brother who was on his way to becoming the governor of his state until a powerful person in his country supporting him suddenly died. That changed the political arrangements. He never became the governor. Perhaps, the office was not his from the LORD. Any time some people are appointed; some others are disappointed! Stop bragging.
William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of America, died just 32 days in office. He died of pneumonia, typhoid fever, or paratyphoid fever. I am not saying he bragged as a president or before becoming president. My point is that human beings have limitations. They should not brag about anything.
Nobody controls his life. We must humble ourselves; we must speak with humility. We cannot say in absolute terms what is going to happen next. “Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring” (Proverbs 27:1 New Living Translation).
James 4:13-16 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (New King James Version).
President Harrison was fortunate to have been president for 32 days. Tancredo Neves was not that fortunate. He won the Presidential election in Brazil in 1985 but he fell ill on the eve of his inauguration. Therefore, he could not take the oath of office. He died 39 days after. He died from complications following abdominal surgery he underwent. He would have been the first civilian president in 21 years. But death stopped him. His deputy became the president instead. Suppose someone had been bragging that he would become one thing or the other under the presidency of Tancredo Neves!
Some people brag about their power to do wicked things, either because they have access to some demonic power or they abuse their offices to oppress or exploit others. This is foolishness. They are not immortal. Where are the dictators of the past? Where are the wicked people of yesterday? Stop bragging! “If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don’t brag about it — cover your mouth with your hand in shame” (Proverbs 30:32 New Living Translation).
The writer of Psalm 75 says of the LORD, “You tell every bragger, ‘Stop bragging!’ And to the wicked you say, ‘Don’t boast of your power! Stop bragging! Quit telling me how great you are” (Psalm 75:4-5 Contemporary English Version).
Whatever is making you brag, either because you are this or that, actually wants to destroy you. Don’t sabotage yourself. Nebuchadnezzar bragged, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30 New King James Version).
While he was yet speaking, a voice called down from heaven, announcing to him that the kingdom had been taken away from him. He had been warned twelve months earlier. However, he was restored later after he had been humbled.
Do we have Christians who are bragging about their pastors or bishops, even comparing one minister with the other? They should stop it. If some ministers are also engaging in this, they should stop it.
Hear Paul: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to the Scriptures, you won’t brag about one of your leaders at the expense of another. What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:6-7 New Living Translation).
Some people brag as if they own the world! Stop bragging! The Bible says, “The day is coming when your pride will be brought low and the LORD alone will be exalted. In that day the LORD Almighty will punish the proud, bringing them down to the dust” (New Living Translation).
Verse 17 says, “The arrogance of all people will be brought low. Their pride will lie in the dust. The LORD alone will be exalted!” (New Living Translation).
Paul said, “We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us” (Philippians 3:3b New Living Translation). You are a mortal being. Stop bragging!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any form of bragging I am involved in. Holy Spirit, help me to humble myself. Father, restore to me whatever I have lost because of my bragging. Help me to mend good relationships that bragging has destroyed in my life.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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