Saturday, November 5, 2011

Proverbs 27:8 commentary; Godliness with contentment is true success

8 ¶ As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

Wandering in the Bible takes on the meanings of moving about aimlessly and of searching for something you can’t find. In our modern culture we value individualism and “our rights” to the extent that we don’t know what our place is nor would we accept it if we did. Paul, speaking with the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gave him tells the Corinthians;

1 Corinthians 7:17 ¶ But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. 18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.

There is a discontent in our society, an uneasiness with where you are and what you have. We are not satisfied with the home we have, the job we have, our social status, our entertainments. Americans are always wanting something else or as the Achilles character says, played by Brad Pitt in the movie “Troy” when asked what he wants, “I want what every many wants; more.”

In the 1970’s when I was in college life was all about “finding yourself”. No status quo was acceptable. We were to, as the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie title said, “Stay Hungry.” Our culture, so wrapped up in movies and music and advertising a lifestyle of dissatisfaction, coveting, and lusting had the problem wrapped up in The Rolling Stones song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

The word of God condemns that attitude. We Christians are to stay in our place, which is in God’s word.

Psalms 119:10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

We are to be satisfied with the simplest of our needs being met.

1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

This expands on a thought found in the Old Testament, under the Law.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Young people, learn a trade, work with your own hands.

1Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Our culture, our advertising, and much of our business is dependent on you never being quite satisfied with what you are or what you have. They always want you to want more, more, more, and you will spend your life in an unending and futile quest to have the most and the best. But the phrase “he who dies with the most toys wins” is a lie as Paul pointed out in the 1 Timothy verses above. It is only he who dies with Christ who wins. In eternity you will not remember the features your cellphone had or how spiffy your new car was. All of the things you have worked overtime for to accumulate and gather around you will be burned up in that day. It is only what you have with Christ that will last. Sit down and think about it. Admit it. The stuff you have doesn’t make you happy, hasn’t helped you or your children grow spiritually in Christ, and is a nuisance at best.

On a different note, the person who is always out wandering from his place and getting into trouble is criticized as well. First, there are those who won’t keep at home. They used to be called gadabouts, always searching to start drama, wandering from bar to bar or house to house.

The first verse is about a man but also contains a prophetic message about the Beast of Revelation (popularly called the “Antichrist”, a word not found in Revelation) which is not the point of our Proverb necessarily. Try to think of how this affects you.

Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

The following verses are about women.

1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

And again, our culture and its popular entertainments want us to be dissatisfied with the spouses we have which is Satan’s purpose for everything from pornography to romance novels. But here we are told;

Proverbs 5:15 ¶ Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? 21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Just remember, and this is a warning to others in developing countries as well who lust after the lifestyle that they perceive to be American, our culture thrives on discontent and dissatisfaction with what you have, who you are, what you look like, and how you view those around you. Our relationships, our dreams, hopes, and those things we desire are based on a throwaway culture where no person or thing is as important as getting another, different person or thing. This attitude is not what a Christian is called to want. This is the world’s dead end. I have recently posted the world’s message from 1 John 2 in conjunction with the temptation Satan laid out before Eve and Adam.

For those of you who are contentious, I am not saying, and I don’t think the Bible is saying, to be content with grinding poverty or injustice or to be satisfied with the crumbs the powerful throw your way and not working hard and smart. What I am saying is about not spending your life in a miserable, unhappy funk because you always are wanting something you don’t have. I’m not discounting education or becoming better at what you do or moving your family out of a dirty, dangerous place. I am certain that everyone knows exactly what I’m talking about and how this Proverb can be applied to a Christian in today’s world.

Be content. Stop wandering.

No comments: