Monday, May 17, 2010

Providence Linked to Contentment

By Jenny

Part 1
I am currently in the process of finishing a book called “The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs a 17th century English puritan preacher; truly one of the great old dead guys. This book is a compilation of sermons that he preached on the subject of contentment to “revive the drooping spirits of the saints in these sad and sinking times” and was first published in 1648. It is a slow read because of the language but also because it takes time to meditate on the depths of wisdom that comes from within this little paperback.

What he wrote over 350 years ago is still very relevant in our time. Discontentment is rampant among Christians today and is a sin that we easily fall prey to. You would think with the relative ease of comfort that we live our lives in today that it would not be so, but the human flesh is weak and is easily tempted if not on guard.

In Chapter 6 Jeremiah looks at how Christ teaches contentment and within that chapter is a section dedicated to the right knowledge of God’s providence. Therein lays four points.

  1. The Universality of Providence – God’s providence reaches to every detail: not one hair falls from your head, not a sparrow to the ground, without the providence of God. Nothing befalls you good or evil. In every particular happening from morning to night every day, that there is nothing that befalls you that the hand of God is not in it.
  2. The efficacy that is in providence – The providence of God goes on in all things, with strength and power, and will not be altered by our power. All our vexing and fretting will not alter and change its course. Job 18:4.
  3. The infinite variety of the works of providence, and yet the order of things, one working towards another – We look at things by pieces but God looks at all things at once and sees the relation that one has to another. When God has ordered a thing for the present to be thus and thus, how do you know how many things depend upon this thing? When you want to have your will in a certain detail, you may cross God in a thousand things that may depend on that one thing.
  4. The knowledge of God’s usual way in the dealings with His people more particularly – The right understanding of the way of God in his providence towards his saints. Those who do not understand the way of God are troubled with the providences of God and think them strange.

Understanding God’s providential care for us, if applied properly, can lead to a contented life. What a witness to a much discontented world! Next time we will look at three things that will help us understand God’s ways in dealing with His people.

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