Proverbs 25:14 Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
Imagine yourself at the end of a long, hot, dry summer drought. You turn on the weather and hear about an approaching front that may finally bring a relieving rain. All through the day you keep going outside and looking to the horizon to watch the clouds as they begin to appear.
Late in the afternoon the wind is blowing and the sky is completely covered with dark, gray clouds. The temperature has dropped noticeably and you can smell the rain in the air. The clouds pass by hour after hour taunting you but not so much as a drop falls on your face. The weather front passes, the sky becomes clear and you are left again with a blazing hot sun and the parched ground.
The writer in Proverbs uses this analogy to help us feel disappointment – the result of a false boast, or hope, or promise. The description of “clouds and wind without rain” allows us to understand how the recipient of our false boast or false promise feels after we have let them down. It is not saying that the person who does the false boasting experiences this feeling (clouds and wind without rain) but that the false boaster inflicts this frustrating feeling on the target of the boast.
Our verse specifically speaks of the boast of giving which is fairly easily understood. If I promise to help you pay your rent next month and then fail to do so, you will feel cheated and deceived. It’s like you’re out in the middle of the desert and you come across a 5 gallon jug marked “water” but when you get there it’s empty. It can be the same whether you are giving to another person or giving to God. If you falsely boast of it whether publicly or only in your mind and you do not follow through, then you are a deceptive disappointment.
The “cloud without rain” is not just a simple disappointment. A cloud without rain has missed its potential and reward. A cloud without rain has deceived those who placed their hope in it. A cloud without rain has squandered its God-given opportunity to minister. A cloud without rain can destroy what might have otherwise been a bountiful harvest.
I think the same concept has application on other forms of false boasting or false promises as well. Allow me the liberty to insert some other false boasts.
“Whoever falsely boasts of praying is like clouds and wind without rain.”
How many times have you heard someone say “I’ll be praying for you” and you know they’re just saying something nice that Christians are supposed to say? How many times have you yourself been guilty of saying the same thing and not following through? How disappointing is it (like a cloud without rain) when you have told someone you will pray for them, and they are taking comfort in that fact, when you really have no intention of doing it?
When we say “I’ll pray for you” this is not just some nice Christian platitude. It is a promise to lift up that person before the God of heaven and communicate to the Lord about their needs. Saying that you will pray for someone and not actually doing it is not a small thing in God’s eyes.
“Whoever falsely boasts of service is like clouds and wind without rain.”
The person who says that they will serve, work or minister and then does not follow through leaves a trail of disappointment and frustration. There are many reasons why a person may give their word to serve and then fail to do so. They may have the best of intentions but lack discipline. They may be seeking approval and recognition. They might make an emotional or impulsive offer to serve. But regardless of our initial motives, to offer your service without following through in any genuine and committed way is disappointing and hurts people.
“Whoever falsely boasts of love is like clouds and wind without rain.”
If we say we love in order to get love, or to look good, but don’t follow it with actual loving deeds, we become not only a hypocrite, but a disappointment. If a person truly loves others, they will do things that tangibly show that love:
James 2:14-17 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (NKJV)
As Christians, we should do what we say we’ll do,
and be who we say we are.
As Christians we should never make false boasts about anything. This is not just boasts in the sense of bragging about yourself. This carries with it the idea of presenting yourself in a certain way or making statements about yourself that are not true such as “I love to help” but never actually helping or being dependable when your help is needed. Or saying, “I’ll be praying for you” as a nice way to end a conversation, or worse, an attempt to make yourself look more Godly than you really are.
When you see clouds and wind moving in you expect rain. When a person hears a promise (a boast, your word) from a Christian they rightly expect for that promise to be fulfilled. Keep that in mind the next time you say “I’ll help” or “I’ll pray” or “I’ll give”.
Our Heavenly Father, help us to never make false boasts whether it be of giving, or service, or praying, or love. Help us to always be what is expected of us as professing Christians. We ask You to convict us every time we are guilty of this whether knowing or unknowing. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you ever tell someone that you will pray for them with only the slightest intentions of actually doing so? Do you promise to serve and then somehow manage to avoid fulfilling that obligation? Do you say you love people and your brothers and sisters in Christ, but don’t actually demonstrate that love with any tangible act were good deed?
Application: Christians of all people should not be disappointments and deceivers. If we say we will give, we should give and then give more. If we say we will pray, we should pray like we mean it and then pray some more. God does not suffer false boasting and whatever we say we will do, we should do, and whatever we say we are, we should be.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?