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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Learning to be Content . . .

Philippians 4    Ezekiel 24    Isaiah 52

“I have learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11) . . . And this written by a prisoner. Well. Do you suppose that Ezekiel had learned the same lesson? Might this be the root of  his faithful obedience to God even on the occasion of his wife’s death? (Ezekiel 24:15-18). Paul speaks of having learned contentment “in any and all circumstances” (v.12). And Isaiah recounts the story of Israel: aliens in Egypt, oppressed by the Assyrians, longing for good news (Isaiah 52:3-7) . . . How is it possible to be content in all circumstances? What is “the secret” of which Paul speaks? (v.12). Where does one find the strength? The hope?? The peace??? Today’s texts offer lessons in contentment . . .

“Your God reigns” (Isaiah 52:7). And God who reigns is “here,” both leading the way and guarding from behind (Isaiah 52:6,12). Paul communicates this same message when he writes, “the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). This, say prophet and apostle together, is the source of all contentment. Circumstances change. And God reigns. As the pendulum of life swings between “little” and “plenty” (Philippians 4:12), God speaks: “Here I am” (Isaiah 52:6). Circumstances will never bear the weight of contentment. Only God sustains hope. God alone is the source of contentment and strength, for above and through and in all (Remember Ephesians 4:6?), God reigns. Therefore . . .

“Stand firm in the Lord” (Philippians 4:1). Rejoice in the Lord always (v.4). In everything pray to God with thanksgiving (v.6). Do you hear it? “In the Lord” . . . Contentment — peace (v.7,9) and full satisfaction (v.19) — is found in the Lord, not in circumstances (v.8,9). Would you like to learn to be content? Examine your focus. Ask yourself, “In what do I rejoice?” And “In whom do I trust?” And pray, asking God to strengthen you in all things (v.13). Amen.

“And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
— Philippians 4:19,20

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