The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.Yesterday we concentrated on how we can affect other people's lives for the positive, by using praise. Today we will look at what our response should be when we are on the receiving end of praise.
I've heard it said that vain men seek praise, that weak men are inflated by it, and that wise men disregard it. I believe that is what Solomon was expressing here.
We need to be careful not to extol our own virtues --- although some people say, "I have to toot my own horn; nobody else will!" And so, many people in our society love to praise themselves. They point out how thrifty the are, how knowledgable, how generous, how experienced, etc, etc, until there's hardly a soul left that wants to be around them! Of course, there are a few times when it is appropriate to commend yourself -- for instance, if you are in the midst of a job interview, you must talk about your experience and your accomplishments. Another instance would be a time when it was necessary to defend yourself against accusations. Paul defended himself several times in the book of Acts, and then again in several of his letters to the churches.
It is one measure of our maturity in our walk with Christ, to check how we respond to praise. If we are made proud, puffed up, conceited, even scornful, then surely we are foolish, and not showing the wisdom that Solomon has been teaching in the Proverbs. Do we fail to give the glory to God, and instead steal it for ourselves? Then we are in danger of grieving the Spirit. Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse calls our attention to Herod, who accepted the people's praise, when he should have given it on to God. He paid for his arrogance and ingratitude rather quickly. (Acts 12)
Henry's commentary continues:
If, on the contrary, a man is made by his praise more thankful to God, more respectful to his friends, more watchful against every thing that may blemish his reputation, more diligent to improve himself, and do good to others, that he may answer the expectations of his friends from him, by this it will appear that he is a wise and good man.And in I Thessalonians 2:4b, Paul states:
Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.So now, we've come full circle. We've plowed all the way around the field, and the tractor is headed to the barn. The last thing we need to consider is the Person who should receive our praise --- morning, noon, and night!
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. (Exodus 15:2)
I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,I'd love to hear if you have favorite "praise verses" that you would like to share with everyone. Let us know in the comment section.
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. (Psalm 7:17)