Read Job 20:20
"Because he knew no contentment in his belly, he will not let anything in which he delights escape him."
• Is discontentment pulling you down?
• Discontentment diverts our energies to things that are here today and gone tomorrow. What are some steps you can take to move through it?
• True contentment comes from inside as the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more like Jesus. What can you do that will enable the Lord to work in your life? (Hint: read Romans 12:1-2.)
Zophar now took a turn, returning to the idea that eventually the godless will suffer. He honed in specifically on discontentment and how that drives people to focus on the temporary things of this world instead of the eternal.
Recently several of our Back to the Bible staff traveled to the Philippines to work with ultrapoor families alongside our ministry partner International Care Ministries (ICM). The families we ministered to live on less than fifty cents a day. We visited their homes, mostly small bamboo structures with dirt floors, patchy roofs, and little to no furnishings. They had no running water or electricity. The kitchen area was simply a few pots just outside the door.
The living conditions were indeed heartbreaking. What stood out in my (Pam's) mind most, however, was the people. Putting myself in their circumstances, I imagine I would be depressed and worried. I'm afraid I would focus so much on what I didn't have that I'd miss what I did have.
The people we met, however, were genuinely joyful. They warmly welcomed us into their community. As the women participated in classes about health and container gardening, they shared smiles, hugs, and laughter. One of my favorite memories was walking down the street with two women. The weather was sweltering of course. As we joked about the sun and heat, one of the women put her arms around our shoulders, teasing that we should carry her back to her house. What a joyful moment connecting with these beautiful women I had met only a few hours earlier.
I don't want to paint a false picture. The families had tremendous needs. I'm sure they also have their moments of worry and sadness. What humbled me, though, was that they didn't focus on what they lacked. This contrasts sharply with the picture Zophar paints in verses 20 to 23. It also contrasts with how many of us live our lives. We pour much of our energy into acquiring things and experiences we believe will make us content.
But true contentment doesn't come from the outside. It stems from our relationship with God and his forming us to become more like Christ. Through Jesus, we can replace our discontentment with the contentment Paul describes in Philippians 4:11-13 (esv): "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Lord, sometimes it seems that I'm always wanting more and never content. Please help me to throw off the discontentment that is pulling me down and fully grasp the wonderful peace You have provided through Your Son, Jesus. Amen.