Monday, April 26, 2021

Jeremiah's Discontent

Preached for 40 years - no response.  Totally ignored.  Jeremiah was very despised and hated by the people.  They viewed him as a traitor.

Jer. 12:1-3, 15:10, 15:17-18, 20:7-8

Why so dissatisfied? 
Some reasons:

(1)  His Call - was of a priestly family.  Didn't wan to be a prophet.  Especially a prophet of DOOM!  Was Despised, persecuted.  Jer. 1:18-19

(2)  The outcome of his ministry - didn't repent!!  Went into Exile!!

(3)  So, his (personal) performance?  preach 40 years and rejected 40 years.  Would 40 years of failure affect one's self-esteem?

(4)  God's (apparent) lack of intervention - ie.  in lives of the wicked .. therefore, the innocent suffer!!!

(5)  His people - stubborn, insensitive to the Holy Spirit, unmoved.  He loved his people, his nation.
(6)  Not allowed to marry!! - no wife, kids, family, home

(7)  Social outcast = priest and prophet, yet not allowed to enter the TEMPLE compound!  (Jer. 36:5) - ordered by the King and the Priest
Should have been admired and respected ... but was despised!!

(8)  after final deportation, carried off to Egypt against his will  ... to die there!  His last words, writings = Book of Lamentations"
This is not a stage of Jeremiah's life ... this IS the story of His LIFE!!

So... Is there reason for discontent?  dissatisfaction?  disappointment?

Jeremiah was not alone in this!  Compare:  Moses, Elijah, Job, John the Baptist, Apostle Paul ..
Some will say "accept Christ, follow God and life will be full, satisfying, No discontent!!"  That's nonsense!!!

In light of Jeremiah and others ... a more Biblical view says:

#1. Expect disappointment
We = fallen creatures, seriously flawed, prone to sin, living in a fallen world  (ie people and environment)
with no reasonable expectation of perfection (getting better) (before heaven!!)

#2.  Accept (some) disappointment
This is not pessimistic surrender .. without attempt to change, improve the situation.
But .. (1) disappointments will come
and    (2)  Not ALL DISCONTENT = Sinful!! (wrong!)
Example:  Jesus was without sin, yet ... Mark 9:14-19

If we = created for perfection .. then there should be discontent!  "Godly Discontent!"  "Holy Dissatisfaction!"
Matt. 5:3, 4, 6
Question:  What about Heb. 13:5
Part of the answer = Heb. 13:5 is speaking of "things", stuff.  Beatitudes speaking of Spiritual State!
Note:  how often we = opposite!!  ie: discontent with our stuff, satisfied with our Spiritual Condition
(Never find Jeremiah complaining about his 'stuff'- material things.)

#3,  Don't let disappointment RULE
Jeremiah was very dissatisfied.  But -  he served Faithfully for more than 40 years!!  Don't have to be fulfilled to lead the Christian life, serve the Lord.
We can do Christian Life and Christian Ministry without being satisfied - example:  Mother Teresa.  Claimed she walked in the dark night of the soul.
Eph. 5:18 - "filled" = Controlled by .. "Is this true only of alcohol?"  Refers to anything that is contrary to the Holy Spirit.  substances, ideas, etc.

#4.  Learn to deal with discontent - Phil. 4:10-13
Paul saying ..."I never experience dis-satisfaction"  OR  "I've learned NOT to let my feelings rule!"
Dissatisfaction = a Fact of life .. it needn't be a LIFESTYLE!!  - Who's your Lord??

#5.  Don't harbor discontent  (feed it, nurture it, dwell on it!!)
  Was Jeremiah dwelling on issues, or dumping the issues (on God) - ex.  Biblical Laments = 1/3 of the Psalms.   The News Media is feeding people discontent, discouragement, despair, etc,

Biblical example:  Ecclesiastes:  the story = search for fullness, satisfaction, contentment ..
                                         the conclusion, the summary = Eccles. 12:13

My take, paraphrase on this = "be content with discontentment", "be satisfied with dissatisfaction"
Fix what you can, be content with the rest

#6.  Also .. Expect Joy!    Psm. 42:5, 11 - it's not lie all of life is bad
Verses = the chorus to the Lament!!
"the world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings!"

Many things can bring about contentment or discontentment... But...
#7.  Dont' neglect the primary hole in your soul (that only Christ can fill)
Those who fill that hole .. will find .. satisfaction, contentment, fullness, peace, Joy

With Christ = more opportunity for joy in this life and the certainty of fullness (total satisfaction, contentment) in the next life!  Rev. 21:1-5

Closing Scripture:  John 16:33

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