Joshua 9:1–10:15, 2 Corinthians 10:9–18, Psalm 50
If God gave me a job to do and I prayed for grace and strength and did the job, would I boast about my obedience? Or boast in the God who gave me the grace and strength? If I prayed an outlandish prayer and God answered it, would I take credit for the praying? Or boast in the Lord who answered it?
Joshua did some amazing things by the grace of God. He also prayed an incredible prayer . . .
At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel. (Joshua 10:12–14)
I’ve since read that this sun standing still phenomena has some scientific evidence, which I cannot verify. Regardless, it is an amazing event. But what is more amazing is that Joshua did not boast in himself or his prayer. He boasted in the Lord.
The incredible apostle Paul said, “But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence. ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:13–18)
The apostle did more than any other Christian of his time to build the kingdom of God, but didn’t boast in himself either. He boasted about other Christian leaders, and he boasted in the Lord.
Through the psalmist, the Lord says: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me . . . . The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50: 14–15, 23)
I’m sometimes proud, sometimes insecure. Both extremes push me to praise myself which makes no sense at all. All that I do is because of God’s grace, and all that I cannot do is also by His grace and wisdom. My boast is in Him.