Rev. Smit is pastor of the Immanuel Protestant Reformed Church in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.
As we part from our friends for the day, we often say, “I will see you tomorrow.” As we part from our wife, husband, or children, we often say, “I will see you later.”
Most often we simply assume that as we have spoken, so our future and our tomorrow will be. We do not give much thought to the possibility that we may not see each other later or tomorrow.
Our heavenly Father warns us against a sinful presumption regarding tomorrow and our future when in Proverbs 27:1 He commands us: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow!” By this command, the Father instructs us to submit to Him and to fear Him in the knowledge that His foreknowledge and counsel concerning our tomorrow is all-authoritative.
The word “tomorrow” makes us think immediately about our future. When we think of “tomorrow,” we think of the health, food, drink, clothing, shelter, transportation, and other necessities that we will need tomorrow and in all the tomorrows of our future. Often, we think too much of the luxuries that we think we need. “Tomorrow” brings to mind all the means by which we receive the earthly gifts and things we need for our life. “Tomorrow” brings to mind our concerns for our health and the health of our family members and friends. Our thoughts are filled with our plans for vacation, family gatherings, holiday activities, upcoming weddings, young people’s conventions, young adults’ retreats, buying, selling, visits to family, visits to the lonely saints in the church, and on and on the list goes.
The truth of Proverbs 27:1reminds us that in all our plans and human predictions for our future we face a serious spiritual danger. This danger arises in light of the fact that very often our Father in His providence does bring our plans to pass. The vacation that we have been planning since January and for which we have made many preparations already, may very well take place this summer just as we have planned. Indeed, we may have a wonderful and refreshing time just as we planned. Now, the danger is that when our plans, whether simple or complex, come to pass so regularly, we expect that everything we plan should come to pass and will come to pass as we have so planned.
That kind of presumption about our future, our heavenly Father forbids. He condemns it as evil boasting about tomorrow. He forbids that we expect that tomorrow and all its events will occur exactly as we have desired and planned today.
Let us understand clearly that Proverbs 27:1 does not forbid proper planning for tomorrow. We must make our plans for tomorrow, rather than making our decisions or doing our work on the spur of the moment. Our children and young people must plan and prepare for their tests and examinations so that they may come to the classroom for their examinations ready and well prepared. Our mothers plan ahead for future needs of the family’s meals and lunches by baking and cooking a large supply in advance. Our pastors plan ahead what sermons they will preach on future Lord’s Days. I am sure that you can think of many other examples of planning ahead for tomorrow.
Nevertheless, even as you and I make all these plans, our heavenly Father does not permit us to cross over the line from proper planning to the sinful expectation that our plans shall certainly be fulfilled as we have willed them. We may never presume anything about our plans. The husband may not presume that as he walks out the door to go to work in the morning, so he will surely return home to his wife and family again that same day. We may not presume that as we have worshiped on the Lord’s Day with our fellow saints, so we shall certainly see our fellow saints in church on the next Lord’s Day. Even though you are walking today, yet this does not guarantee that you will be walking tomorrow. Can you be absolutely sure before God that you will and must be healthy tomorrow because you are healthy today?
We often say, “I will see you tomorrow!” We plant our gardens and fields with the automatic assumption that we will surely harvest the fruits of our fields and gardens. We expect these things as planned without the least thought that God might not allow what we expect to happen. That spiritual ignorance about the actual uncertainty of our plans and the unreliability of our predictions is only proud boasting before God. That sinful boasting ignores God’s sovereign and all-powerful Hand, which determines and governs all the events and details of our today as well as of our tomorrow.
In addition to that, all such boasting about tomorrow is evil because “thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). The words “bring forth” point to an illustration of parents bringing forth a child. When parents are expecting and look forward to the day when the mother will bring forth the child, they do not know what the child will look like or whether it is a boy or a girl. The parents do not know ahead of time whether the child will look like them, their parents, or other relatives. They know that the child will be born soon, but all the details they do not. Likewise, our knowledge of tomorrow is very limited. We might generally expect what tomorrow will bring forth, but the precise details and actual events that will take place we do not know for sure. In fact, by the end of the day, when our future quickly has become our past, we have often experienced many surprises and events that we never had in our plans. That reflects clearly the truth ofJames 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.”
The fact is that only Jehovah knows our tomorrow. His knowledge of our tomorrow is all-determinative and authoritative.
First, Jehovah’s knowledge of our tomorrow is His determinate counsel and foreknowledge about tomorrow. He knows all the details of our lives. He has known our entire life as an open book from eternity. Even all the plans we make today are part of that divine foreknowledge. That means that even our plans, whether they are fulfilled or are not fulfilled, are never independent of His sovereign knowledge and control.
Secondly, Jehovah’s knowledge of our future is not a mere accurate understanding of what will happen. God is not merely a future-knower. His knowledge sovereignly and all-powerfully brings our tomorrow to pass as He has willed according to His good pleasure. What God sovereignly knows in His counsel, that He will bring to pass. God sovereignly causes us to make our plans. God sovereignly fulfils them or does not fulfill them according to His sovereign foreknowledge and counsel. Therefore, the only reason why many of our plans are fulfilled and others are not fulfilled is God’s sovereign foreknowledge and counsel.
Since we in no way have the kind of knowledge that God does, we sinfully boast when we act as though our plans must and will surely come to pass. Whether we see our friend or family member tomorrow depends not on our will, but entirely upon the will and foreknowledge of our Father. Whether we harvest soon any of the fruits of our labors in our fields and gardens depends not upon our will or desires, but upon what God knows about the tomorrow of our future. Hence, our life and times are not in our hands, but solely in the Hand of our heavenly Father, who leads in life whithersoever and howsoever He knows and wills.
As His faithful children, we may boast then in Jehovah alone.
We may glory in Him because our heavenly Father knows us and our tomorrow in His love in Jesus Christ. God does not know everyone’s tomorrow that way. There are many whose future God knows in His wrath. He brings to pass their tomorrow also, but only to prepare them for their eternal tomorrow in hell. But, in Christ, the Father has known His people. He has known you in His sovereign and electing love in Christ. Around that central thought the Father has clustered all the details of your life on earth from the beginning unto the very end.
This truth assures us that our Father’s purpose for our tomorrow is to do us good for Christ’s sake. His goal is to use our tomorrow for our blessing. The Father knows how to make your tomorrow serve your salvation.
Do you know what you need in your tomorrow that will serve your salvation and eternal profit? Of course not. However, the Father knows! In His love and wisdom, He knows exactly what you need tomorrow for your salvation. Sometimes that means that the plans we make must come to pass. Often the plans we make do not come to pass because those plans, if fulfilled, would not serve our salvation and eternal profit. Be thankful, therefore, that the Father knows what our tomorrow will be and what it must bring forth for our good and His glory.
That tomorrow will be for your good because of Jesus Christ alone. We may be assured of that because Jesus Christ suffered for us on the cross of Calvary long ago and there secured our salvation. A wonderful and undeserved benefit of His atoning sacrifice and redemptive work is that, as our Father has in our yesterdays and in our today, so also He will bless us through whatever our tomorrows must bring forth.
What then is the most important thing you and I need to know about tomorrow, the thing in which we may boast?
The most important thing that I need to know about tomorrow is not the weather, nor the condition of the financial markets, nor any other earthly consideration. The most important thing for me to know about my tomorrow is that what the Father knows tomorrow will bring forth He will bring to pass for my salvation and for His glory for Christ’s sake alone. Therefore, even if my tomorrow is entirely contrary to all of my plans, so be it according to His will. The Father in His wisdom knows best what will serve me tomorrow with a view to my eternal life in glory with Christ.
Let us in the confidence of faith trust in the Father’s knowledge and wisdom and submit ourselves to His will no matter what He will cause our tomorrow to bring forth.
Let us also make our plans for tomorrow, but always including those very important words: “if the Lord will” (James 4:15).