Boasting is bad. Right?
Of course. We teach our children not to boast.
We are annoyed the braggart. Disgusted by the bluster of the blowhard. And repelled with the bombast of the know it all. In fact, the Bible says in several places “do not boast….” (Ps 75:4; Prov 27:1; 2Cor 10:15; Jas. 3:14).
Yet, in the text we have been considering, Psalm 34:1-3, David claims the right to boast.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
The Hebrew word translated boast is Halal. It means “to make a show; to celebrate.” It involves “shouting or jubilation.” It is used 165 times in the Old Testament and is often translated praise or glory. W. E. Vine says, “the word halal is the source of Hallelujah, a Hebrew expression of ‘praise’ to God, which has been taken over virtually into every language of mankind.”
David’s boasting was not in himself. Nor in his accomplishments, accolades or achievements. It was not a carnal, fleshly boasting, which the Bible condemns (Gal. 6:13). Neither was he boasting about his future goals. “Do not boast about tomorrow” is a clear warning from Scripture (Prov. 27:1). And he was not boasting in the abundance of his wealth, which is also condemned (Ps 49:6).
David was boasting in the Lord. He was celebrating God’s goodness. Mercy. And loving kindness. He was shouting for joy for the Jehovah’s protection as he faced enemies, accusation and physical threats on his life.
This kind of boasting is not born of arrogance or a false sense of security. In fact, paradoxically, it is boasting based in humility. It speaks to a surety of the soul and assurance by the Almighty power of God. It is anchored to His promises. His provisions. His providence.
Fast forward 1,000 years and we read of another great man of God who also claimed he could boast. The apostle Paul said that he could boast in the cross of Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14). He did not boast in his own works, but in the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-9). In fact, Paul even boasted of his physical infirmities because they became a demonstration of God’s power, strength and grace in his life (2 Cor 12:9-10)
Like both King David and the apostle Paul, our lives may not always go as planned. We may meet opposition from unexpected sources. We may suffer hardship, heart ache or hurt. Yet, we can humbly boast of our relationship with the Lord. Our reliance on His care. And our trust in His promises.
We can celebrate our salvation in Jesus. We can shout “Hallelujah, I am saved.” We can boast of our blessings in Christ. We can rejoice in our relationships with fellow Believers. We revel in the righteousness of the Lord, instead of our own self-righteousness.
This kind of godly boasting will ennoble your spirit. Renew your soul. And refresh your mind.
Boasting in the Lord encourages others. Comforts those who are mourning. Uplifts those who are down-cast. Inspires confidence in the faint of heart. Transforms the troubled soul. Enlightens the unsaved. Radiates light in a darkened world. Dispels depression and despair. And fortifies our faith as we fix our eyes upon our heavenly home.
How about it? Take time today to do a little boasting. In the Lord, of course!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman