Contentment is feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation; to be pleased. It certainly behooves me to be content in the place I am. Sometimes, though, I am prodded to move out of my situation into something different. It might be “better” or maybe it’s just the next step in God’s good plan for my life.
As I meditated upon contentment, I came across this verse in the book of Joshua.
7Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side!Joshua 7:7
Okay, I admit, I chuckled when I read this. I think I have done this. Following God’s leading, Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. He had been given very specific instructions on how this would be accomplished. But the people did not follow these specific instructions, so God lifted his hands of protection and blessing.
What did Joshua do? He fell on his face before the Ark and cried out to the Lord. That sounds very spiritual, right? Possibly, except Joshua’s solution was that they should have been content staying where they were. And that wasn’t God’s plan. God responds to Joshua with this admonition:
10But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat.Joshua 7:10-12
God didn’t want them to be content with their past; he wanted their obedience. The people not only disobeyed, they lied about it. They took the things that were to be set apart for God and acted as if nothing was wrong.
Today I asked myself these questions: Have I taken anything for myself that was to be set apart for God? Have I broken covenant with God by longing for what used to be because this road I travel is too difficult? Am I blaming God for something because I don’t want to take responsibility?
Yesterday in The Bible in a Year, the reading from Proverbs said this:
3People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.Proverbs 19:3
Contentment doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing. It means being satisfied and pleased with what God is doing in your life and going where he takes you, even when it’s difficult.
Are you tempted to turn away from something because it’s difficult? Do you find it easier to blame God for difficulty than accept responsibility and press in to greater obedience?