The Praise of Men (Proverbs 27:2, 21) - Radical

The Praise of Men (Proverbs 27:2, 21)

“Let another praise you and not your own mouth. A stranger and not your own lips.”
– Proverbs 27:2

So a clear exhortation in this verse to not heap praises upon yourself. Or not even to pursue praise for yourself, but to let others do that. So not to speak before others about how what you did was good or how what you did was great, but to let others acknowledge that, and if they don’t acknowledge that, then don’t jump in and help them to acknowledge that in a sense. So, that’s Proverbs 27 Verse 2.

We need God’s help not to seek the praise of men and that when it comes, to pass the test.

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.”                                                                                                                             

– Proverbs 27:21

So a man is tested when he is praised for how he responds to that. Does he gloat in that? Does he take excessive pride in that or let it fuel his pride in any way?

And this is where we just see we need God’s help when it comes to the praise of men. One, we need God’s help not to seek the praise of men, not to want it, even in such a way like Verse 2 talks about where you actually start to give it to yourself or help others see it.

Proverbs 27:2, 21 Teaches Contentment with God’s Pleasure

God, help us to be free from that desire for other’s praise. Help us to be content with your pleasure, with knowing we are walking faithfully before you. Help us not to seek the praise of men. And then when it comes, O God, help us to pass the test. May the praise of men not increase our pride. We know ourselves, O God, we know that in and of ourselves we are sinners before you. There’s nothing good in us apart from you. Anything good in us comes from you; therefore, any praise that others give us ultimately deserves to go to you. You alone deserve all praise for anything good in us.

So we pray that when we are praised, so on one hand, Lord, keep us, we pray, from seeking the praise of others, from desiring the praise of others. And then, Lord, when it comes, if it comes, help us to attribute that immediately to you.

Proverbs 27:2, 21 Reminds Us to Point Our Praise Towards God

Yes, verbally, even in our conversations with people who are praising us, but most importantly in our hearts, O God, may we not begin to think, “Oh, I have all of this goodness in me because of myself.” May we just immediately remember that any goodness in us is a tribute to your goodness toward us. And therefore, should be attributed to your glory above all. Help us, we pray, to not seek praise, and to pass the test of praise when it comes.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.


David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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