Thomas Watson- The Art of Divine Contentment (Chapter 7-9)
Chapter 7: Reasons Pressing to Holy Contentment
Thomas Watson begins this chapter with some reasons why we should engage in contentment or seek to be content. He cites…
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1. God’s precept. Here we could say, we should be content because God has commanded us to be content. He writes that it is charged upon us as a duty.
The same God to tells us to believe also tells us to be content.
2. God’s promise. I will never leave you nor forsake you. God has committed Himself to see to it that we have everything He wants us to have. In other words, your lot in life and the things you have fall within God’s providence. Here in Hebrews, God has entered into a bond to secure His people with everything He wants us to have. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. This is one of the reasons God gives to secure our contentment. He will always be with us. We may not has some thing we might desire but having God should overshadow our desire for other things. God tells us all as His children I will care for you and never leave you.
3. God’s decree. Whatever our condition is, God has decreed that condition for us, and by His providence has ordered all the things that go along with it. Whenever we are tempted to be discontent ask yourself, who has placed me here? It’s not by chance or fortune as lost people might imagine but it is the wise, all-knowing God who loves us.
He references Hebrews 13:5 to show us that we should not obsess over things like money because we have God always with us. We don’t need to have money as an idol because we have God forever with us. This principle is always true and applies to other things as well, not just money.
Psalm 39:9 (ESV)
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
David kept his mouth shut (which is often a good practice) because he realized he was exactly in the state God had for him.
When we are not content then we are telling God that He doesn’t know best, His ways are not above our ways but rather subordinate to our ways, we don’t like His decree nor His providence and He got it all wrong.
Discontentment brings pain and suffering to us.
Lot was not content and chose Sodom.
Rachel was not content,
Genesis 30:1 (ESV)
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”
Abraham and Sarai were not content and worked to make Ishmael their heir…
Genesis 17:18 (ESV)
18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!”
The disciples wept for Jesus to stay with them and didn’t realize it was far better that He go to the cross and die for their sins.
We must learn to be content and to be at God’s disposal.
Chapter 8 The First Use: How a Christian May Make His Life Comfortable
In this chapter our author tells us that contentment can bring us comfort and peace in this life regardless of our circumstances.
To show this he sites Luke 12:15…
Luke 12:15 (ESV)
15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
According to Jesus to be satisfied and content does not depend on whether we have a lot of money. An abundance of money will not bring happiness. The rich man is not at peace because the wealth he thought would make him happy and secure only brought worry and concern. How will I keep all my wealth? There are always people trying to take it.
Discontentment actually makes a person not enjoy what he has right in front of him because he is always looking for more.
The content Christian is a happy and peaceful Christian.
Are you a happy and peaceful believer or are you a frustrated discontent person never happy with what God has placed right in front of you?
Chapter 9 The Second Use: A Check to the Discontented Christian
Now Watson does what all good pastors do he gives those who are not content with their condition just reproof. For the second time, he calls discontent a disease that affects the soul. He gives many examples of discontentment. These people are never happy, never satisfied because they never have enough even when they have enough. God has given them mercies and bestowed upon them gifts untold and they are not happy. They always complain and grumble about the state of others being superior to theirs. Always looking for more riches when they have enough and they have what God wants them to have.
He claims rightly that very few Christians have learned Paul’s lesson…
Philippians 4:11 (ESV)
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
If Christians are poor then they are envious. They malign those above them. He writes, when God’s candle shines upon their neighbor’s tabernacle, this light offends them. If men are rich then they learn to be covetous, thirsting insatiably after the world, and seeking to acquire it even by unjust means.
Here, we would do well to listen to Solomon…
Proverbs 30:15–16 (ESV)
15 The leech has two daughters:
Give and Give.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
the land never satisfied with water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
Watson writes, he would like to add a fifth, namely, the heart of a covetous man.
The Israelites complained against God while in the dessert. They were given manna from heaven but grumbled, manna wasn’t enough, they wanted meat to eat. They were never happy. They said, If God will not give us what we want we would rather be dead and finally God granted their request and they died in the wilderness.
Rachel cried out, give me children or I’ll die. God granted her request and she died.
Genesis 35:18 (ESV)
18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
What is it that you don’t have and desire too strongly? Be on your guard, God may just give it to you.
Be thankful whatever your situation and learn as Paul did to love God and not the things you don’t have.