Boasting of a False Gift
Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift
is like clouds and wind without rain.
1. This proverb does not contain any commands or exhortations.
2. Rather, it makes a statement which serves as a warning.
3. The statement is that there are people in the world who are just like the one described in this proverb.
4. The implied exhortations are:
a. Beware of such people; don’t be duped.
b. Don’t be like this person.
What the Boaster Does
1. The proverb warns of a man who boasts of a false gift.
2. A false gift:
a. False: A lie; deceit; misleading; fraud.
b. The term is used in Jer. 23:32 – used of false prophets proclaiming “false” dreams… which in fact, were deceitful lies.
c. These prophets said that they received a dream from God with a special message from God, but they were lying. They were purposely trying to deceive the people into believing a lie.
d. They promised dreams of wonderful things… peace and prosperity that never materialized.
3. Thus, a false gift is the promise of a gift that is misleading, deceptive, or an outright lie.
a. A warning against “false gifts” is timeless. It is appropriate for every human being in every age bracket and in every generation.
b. Since the fall of Adam, there have always been scam artists out there… seeking to deceive others with a false gift.
c. The tactics and methods used may change, but essentially the scam is the same.
d. There have always been dishonest people who make wonderful promises and claims that they have no intention of keeping.
e. The promise of their “gift” is false, deceptive, misleading… an outright lie.
4. The BOAST (halal)
a. The word “boast” has a couple of meanings:
• Its first and most common meaning is to shine; to radiate; to praise; to extol the greatness of a person. It very often means to extol the greatness of God.
• The term can mean to extol the greatness of someone else… OR to extol the greatness of something.
• Solomon uses the term in the sense of extolling the greatness of a gift… praising it… making it sound wonderful… making it to “radiate” with glory.
b. Our proverb speaks of a dishonest man who makes a boast about a gift that he knows is deceptive.
• He loudly proclaims how wonderful it is… how valuable it is… and he extols its greatness.
• He is not quiet about it… but openly boasts.
• He attempts to make his gift radiate in the minds of his hearers so that they will become dazzled by it… and desire to have it.
5. This is a warning against the age-old snake oil salesman.
a. The snake oil salesman boasts about his product.
b. He makes wild claims that it can heal ulcers, headaches, sore backs, poison ivy, and any other ailment you might have.
c. He boasts great things about his product… he makes it shine in the minds of his hearers.
d. But his claims are false. It is a false gift.
e. The effect of his wild claims and boastings is that he gets the hopes up of all who hear… of those who may be suffering from ulcers, a sore back, etc.
f. They want so badly to believe, that they spend large amounts of money to buy his snake oil… in hopes of curing what ails them.
g. But in the end, they are always disappointed and discouraged… and maybe a little embarrassed that they were gullible enough to believe the snake oil salesman.
6. Snake oil has earned a bad reputation over the years. It has lost its luster and shine. But the snake oil salesman is still alive and well.
a. He has simply developed a new line of products for his modern customers.
b. Today he uses the internet. There you can boast of a false gift to thousands of people all at once!
c. He sends out emails to his potential customers with a claim that is sure to radiate in their gullible little minds: a wealthy widow in Qatar is dying of cancer and is hoping that you would be willing to manage her six million dollar estate.
d. A wealthy businessman temporarily living outside of Boston was looking for a nanny to take care of his daughter for the summer for $4000.00. He sent the Bank of Virginia check to our house, told Shannon to cash it, and to return $400.00 of it… since she wasn’t going to be a “live in” nanny.
e. Scam artists have multiplied and improved their trade over the years. They are more deceptive than ever.
7. But the false gift is not only boasted by salesman.
a. We have the “gospel of health and wealth” folks today making grandiose promises to gullible Christians.
• Send in $100 and God will multiply your gift 10 fold!
• Be a big time supporter of our ministry and you might get a front row seat in our healing service… and your chances of getting healed are multiplied.
• But their promises are “false gifts.”
• And people leave those places disappointed and more discouraged than ever.
• These men are like the false prophets with the false dreams of “good things” that never materialized.
• When will the Christian public learn: there are men out there who will “make merchandise of you.” We’ve been warned.
• They make wild and unrealistic promises contrary to what the Bible says, and believers still fall for it.
• Jude 12 – Jude describes false teachers of the last days using the very same image: clouds without water.
» And wasn’t this trait how sin ENTERED the world?
» Satan made a grandiose promise to Adam and Eve: eat this fruit and ye shall be as gods!
» But it was designed to be deceptive…
» Certainly we should not manifest that character flaw in our lives!
b. And then there are the Bernie Madoffs of the world—who promise a great return on your investment… except that it is the old pyramid trick.
• People were promised glowing reports of success. He boasted of great returns.
• But it was a false gift… and in the end, it caused hundreds of individuals and businesses to lose their shirt… for him to end up in jail and his son to commit suicide.
c. And certainly we have seen this countless times on both sides of the aisle in the political arena: politicians who make grandiose promises… but do not fulfill them.
• Sometimes they were deceitful, empty words designed only for the campaign to get him into office—never intended to carry through with them.
• Sometimes he makes promises naively, assuming he will be able to change Washington… and discovers that he cannot keep his promise.
What the Boaster is Like
1. The boaster is like “clouds and wind without rain.”
2. Solomon has used various illustrations to describe WORDS people speak… they can be valuable, beautiful, and refreshing.
a. Vs. 11 – Words fitly spoken are like “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
b. Vs. 12 – A wise reprover is like an “earring of gold.”
c. Vs. 13 – A faithful messenger is like “the cold of snow in harvest.”
3. Vs. 14 – Now he speaks about a person who speaks words that are NOT valuable, beautiful, or refreshing: one who makes great promises but fails to keep his words.
a. He is like “clouds and wind without water.”
b. His words are empty and disappointing.
4. The meaning of this might not be as apparent to us living in the Northeast as it would be to farmers living in dry and dusty California… or to farmers who lived off the land in the days of Solomon.
a. Farmers in dry regions (like California or the Middle East) are dependent upon rain for their crops… or at least they used to be before they learned to irrigate by draining local rivers.
b. But to the farmer who WAS dependent upon natural rain for the survival of his crops and his farm, clouds and wind gave him great hope.
c. Clouds and wind normally meant a rain storm. That was good news. It got their hopes up… their expectations high.
d. They saw the clouds and naturally looked forward to good results: copious amounts of rain to cause their crops to grow… which resulted in prosperity.
e. But when the clouds and wind came by without rain… if they came by (promising rain) but just kept on blowing over their fields without actually dropping any rain, the result was great disappointment and discouragement. It could mean the ruin of their crops.
5. Clouds and wind bring with them a promise of wonderful things… like the man who boasts of a great gift.
a. But when the clouds roll by and don’t actually drop any rain, the clouds were like a false gift.
b. It seemed to promise rain, but didn’t deliver.
c. As a result, hopes are dashed. Great expectations followed by sinking disappointment.
6. Not only are we warned not to be duped by such people, but we are also warned not to make promises that we do not fulfill.
a. It is discouraging and disappointing to be on the recipient end of false gifts… or broken promises.
b. We should not be the one breaking promises either.
c. It is very disappointing for kids to have dad promise to take them here or there only to discover that dad didn’t keep his promise. It was a false gift…
d. Sometimes it happens and there is nothing you can do about it. But it should not become habitual… a repeated occurrence.
e. It is better not to promise a gift unless you know you can keep the promise.