Contentment Disallows Murmuring Vexation

For Lord’s Day, November 5, 2017

Dear Saints,

First, a reminder to turn back your clocks tonight for Daylight Saving Time tomorrow.

We return to Jeremiah Burroughs’, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, as a follow-up to our Wednesday night lecture series with Thomas Watson’s, The Art of Divine Contentment. Each book has as its theme verse throughout: … I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11). The last time I wrote, we considered both ministers’ answering of common questions of concern and allowing that there were some things that contentment did not exclude (such as godly lament and seeking to lawfully change one’s situation). Next Burroughs will have us consider to what Biblical contentment is opposed:

“I. It is opposed to murmuring and repining at the hand of God … [This is very important to consider as we return to our sermon series in the book of Numbers tomorrow.]

2. To vexing and fretting … [Consider the refrains of Psalm 37.]

3. To tumultuousness of spirit … [Consider Psalm 46:10.]

4. … to an unsettled and unstable spirit, whereby the heart is distracted from the present duty that God requires in our several relationships, towards God, ourselves and others … [Consider Psalm 42:5, 11 and Psalm 43:5.]

5. … to distracting, heart consuming cares … [Consider Philippians 4:6.]

6. … to sinking discouragements … So far as your heart sinks and you are discouraged under affliction, so much you need to learn this lesson of contentment. [Consider 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.]

7. It is opposed to sinful shiftings and shirkings to get relief and help … [Here singing the Psalms are extremely helpful, especially 42, 61, 71, and 73.]

8. … quietness of spirit is the opposite of … desperate risings of the heart against God by way of rebellion … [This is especially important considering our morning text tomorrow, Numbers 15:27-36, as well as its previous and following chapters.]

This is quietness of spirit under an affliction … when the soul is so far able to bear an affliction as to keep quiet under it.” [Remember our Wednesday night study of Matthew Henry’s book on 1 Peter 3:4 a while back.]

Similar to Burroughs, after resolving questions about how a Christian may lament to God about his condition, Thomas Watson also next warns in his book about what contentment properly excludes or “banishes”:

“1. It excludes a vexatious repining … [in Psalm 55:2] He doth not say I murmur [but I mourn] in my complaint. Murmuring is no better than mutiny in the heart …

2. It excludes an uneven discomposure … when his head and heart are so taken up, that he is not fit to pray or meditate … as when an army is routed …

3. It excludes a childish despondency … care is to the mind as a burden to the back; it loads the spirits, and, with overloading, sinks them.”

Beloved, it has been a while since I’ve been able to share an e-devotion with you to prepare for Sabbath worship. Let me remind you as I have been reminded that this is all something of which we all need to continually be good students. We are never done learning, so long as we are willing to learn by experience. May we more and more be able to say with Paul that we have learned to be content in all things through Christ through Whom we can.

Semper Reformanda,

Pastor Grant