In reading the Old Testament I am often dumbfounded at how the people of God could be so thick-headed and quick to forget the lessons of history. How could Josiah be such a good king and his son and grandson so rotten? Were they not watching how God blessed Josiah’s obedience? How could Solomon be such a wise king and yet Rehoboam (his son and heir) be so unwise? Did he not see the stupidity of acting rashly and without thoughtful consideration?
How could the church be so on-fire for Jesus Christ and expand so rapidly in the first few centuries and then fall into such troubles during the next 1000 years? Were they not aware that the persecution kept the church pure, God dependent and narrowly focused upon His Kingdom? Did they not consider that being too secure and safe, or too prosperous and self-sufficient would certainly lead them away from the security, purpose and place of the cross? Paul said this: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Jesus’s words were, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).
So what is it within us and our children that makes us look for greener pastures and an easier life when we know, from the Biblical record, history and personal experience, that the grass is not greener and life is not easier when we try to “cut corners”? Why do we crave to do things “our way” when we know, good and well, that eventually “our sins will find us out?”
Arrogance somehow causes us to think we could run our life better if we were our own god. We worship our own instincts, ideas and notions and treat them as if they were “divine”. Though we would never announce it publicly, we think we’re better than others——and perhaps even God.
Of course Jesus Christ was the ANTITHESIS of these vices—-so why don’t we follow Him rather than enemy? Because we’re not content. We never seem ready to accept the good things that He sends to us or the proper instructions He has provided. And so, ultimately, we are not content with Him.
Paul said, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Phil. 4:11-12). Paul was clear that possessions and ‘the good life” are not signs of God’s blessing—— contentment is. And the secret to holding onto to contentment is to get into the habit of praising Him in all circumstances. Paul said we should “rejoice in the Lord always”. That’s a sign that we are content——and that we have received the full measure of His blessing.
Am I thanking Him, rejoicing in all things, praising Him throughout the day? Have I learned about the inner peace that comes from being content with what He has given me?