GOD SHOOTS MANY KINDS OF ARROWS

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“May Your will be done.” Matthew 6:10

We pray here, that we may have grace to submit to God’s will patiently — in whatever He inflicts.

Patient submission to God’s will, is a gracious frame of soul, whereby a Christian is content to be at God’s disposal, and acquiesces in His wisdom. “It is the Lord’s will — let Him do what He thinks best.” 1 Samuel 3:18

Patient submission to the will of God, lies in seeing His hand in the affliction. “Affliction does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth.” Job 5:6. Affliction does not come by chance! Job eyed God in all that befell him. “The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21. Job looks beyond second causes— he sees God in the affliction! “The Lord has taken it
away.” There can be no submission to God’s will — until there is an acknowledging of God’s hand in the affliction.

Patient submission to God’s will, lies in justifying God. God is holy and just, not only when He punishes the wicked — but when He afflicts the righteous. “Now we are being punished because of our wickedness and our great guilt. But we have actually been punished far
less than we deserve.” Ezra 9:13

While we live here in this valley of tears, patient submission to God’s will is much needed. The Lord sometimes lays heavy afflictions upon us. “Your arrows have struck deep, and Your blows are crushing me!” Psalm 38:2. God sometimes lays many afflictions upon us. “He multiplies my wounds.” Job 9:17. God shoots many kinds of arrows.

God sometimes afflicts with POVERTY — which is a great affliction. To have an estate reduced almost to nothing, is hard to flesh and blood. “The Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.” Ruth 1:20, 21

God sometimes afflicts with REPROACH. Dirt may be cast upon a pearl; and those names may be blotted,which are written in the book of life. Piety shields from hell — but not from slander.

God sometimes afflicts with the DEATH of loved ones. “Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure. Suddenly she will die!” Ezekiel 24:16

God sometimes afflicts with INFIRMITY of body. Sickness takes away the comfort of life. Sometimes God lets the infirmity continue long. Some diseases are chronic, and linger and hang about the body for many years. The Lord is pleased to exercise many of His precious ones with chronic affliction.

God tries His people with various afflictions — so that they have need of patient submission to His will.

Murmuring is not consistent with submission to God’s will. Murmuring is the height of impatience, it is a kind of mutiny in the soul against God. “They began to murmur against God.” Numbers 21:5

When water is hot — then the scum boils up; when the heart is heated with anger against God — then murmuring boils up!

Murmuring springs from pride! Men think they have deserved better at God’s hand; and, when they begin to swell with pride — they spit poison!”

— Thomas Watson

ARE YOU CONTENT IN ALL THINGS?

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Contentment is one of the rarest graces. Like all precious things—it is most uncommon. To practice contentment, is very hard. To talk of contentment in the day of health and prosperity is easy enough; but to be content in the midst of poverty, sickness, trouble, disappointments, and losses—is a state of mind to which very few can attain!

The fallen angels had heaven itself to dwell in, and the immediate presence and favor of God—but they were not content. Adam and Eve had the garden of Eden to live in, with a free grant of everything in it excepting one tree—but they were not content. Ahab had his throne and kingdom, but so long as Naboth’s vineyard was not his—he was not content. Haman was the chief favorite of the Persian king—but so long as Mordecai sat at the gate—he was not content.

It is just the same everywhere in the present day. Murmuring, dissatisfaction, discontent with what we have, meet us at every turn. To say, with Jacob, “I have enough,” seems flatly contrary to the grain of human nature. To say, “I want more,” seems the mother tongue of every child of Adam.

Paul’s direction ought to come with power to all our consciences: “Be content with such things as you have,” not with such things as you once used to have—not with such things as you hope to have—but with such things as you now have. With such things, whatever they may be—we are to be content. With such a dwelling, such a family, such health, such income, such work, such circumstances as we now have—we are to be content.

Ah! reader, if you would be truly happy—seek it where alone it can be found. Seek it not in money, seek it not in pleasure, nor in friends, nor in learning. Seek it in having a will in perfect harmony with the will of God. Seek it in studying to be content.

You may say, that is fine talking—but how can we be always content in such a world? I answer, that you need to cast away your pride, and know your deserts, in order to be thankful in any condition. If men really knew that they deserve nothing, and are debtors to God’s mercy every day—they would soon cease to complain.

Let me tell you why there is so little contentment in the world. The simple answer is, because there is so little grace, and true godliness. Few know their own sin; few feel their desert; and so few are content with such things as they have. Humility, self-knowledge, a clear sight of our own utter vileness and corruption; these are the true roots of contentment.

Let me tell you—what you should do, if you would be content. You must know your own heart, seek God for your portion, take Christ for your Savior, and use God’s Word for your daily food. Contentment must be learned at the feet of Jesus Christ. He who has God for his friend, and heaven for his home—can wait for his good things, and be content with little here below.”

— J. C. Ryle

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.