Monday, May 02, 2005

Contentment

I’m not sure if the sermons have just been really good lately, or I’ve been paying attention more, but they really hit home. The sermon this week was from Jeremiah 31. The object lesson of the Israelites really goes to the core of contentment. Here was Jeremiah prophesying about the return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple before it was even destroyed. Pastor pointed out something that is very obvious, but not recognized very often. The people who heard this prophecy (and Jeremiah himself) would probably never see the temple rebuilt. They were to spend 70 years in Babylon, so maybe some of the really young people would see Jerusalem again in their lifetime, but most of them would not. And yet, God tells them to sing for gladness.

I know what my response would tend to be to this: Since I’m never going to see the rebuilding of Jerusalem, why should I sing for gladness? It will be almost three generations before the temple is rebuilt! It is amazing what happens when the rubber meets the road. I profess to be a pilgrim and a stranger in this world, and yet when it comes right down to it, I would probably be despairing in such a situation. Not so the great men and women of faith. Consider what Hebrews says of such people.
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
These great men and women DID NOT receive the promises made to them. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob didn’t take possession of the land of Caanan. Even the great man Moses, who God spoke with face to face, never entered into the land of promise. Suddenly, my personal problems seem to fade away when I consider this. These men lived their entire lives on nothing more than the promises and word of God. In doing this, they declared with a single loud voice that they were seeking a different kind of homeland, and God has prepared such a city for them!

Oh to be like these men, who saw such a dim light and yet believed so strongly. The light of the gospel is so much brighter now, and a lot of the shadows and figures have been removed. Should we not be believing all the more? I pray that we would be all the more like these great men and women of faith; that we would be counted among those “of whom the world was not worthy.”

1 Comments:

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous The German said...

" but they really hit home" - I'm glad. We've been having good conversation about these topics recently.

 

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