Let’s talk about contentment
a. The story of King Joash in 2 Chronicles tells us
everything we need to know about how to have true, lasting contentment, or peace, in life.
2. Having support has always played a crucial role in having contentment in life.
a. We are social creatures, and being surrounded by people who protect and care for us makes us feel safe and
i. Get support from family, spouse, good friends, mentors and teachers, co-workers, and people in our church.
ii. Appreciate them the most when we have an accomplishment or happiness to share, or we have a major decision, or go through a bit transition or crisis in life.
b. A little less than a decade ago I went through a real season of transformation in my life.
i. I got support from my wife, some strong friends, a wise mentor, a counselor, and a mens group I was a part of.
ii. I don’t think I would have been able to make the changes I needed to make without their support.
c. We are coming into the holiday season, a time of year when we tend to reconnect and spend time with our close relationships.
i. Use your handout to write down relationships which give you support.
3. The Bible uses an important word when it talks about good relationships. We see it in 2 Chronicles 23:1-3 (read)
a. The word is “Covenant.” And in fact this word is a Top 3 word to know in the Bible, alongside ‘faith’ and ‘God.’
b. The word itself, in the Hebrew, is Berith.
i. It described a compact or treaty, an official agreement between two parties.
ii. The root word meant “eat.” The custom was that two parties would ‘seal the deal’ with each other by sitting down to share a meal.
c. In the Old Testament, ‘Covenant’ was the word which described the relationship God made with People.
i. At key moments, God spoke to someone like Abraham or Moses or David and officially promised to provide, protect and bless in exchange for faithfulness
1. Read Dt. 7:9
ii. Archaeologists and anthropologists have noted that the language of the Bible is very similar to tablets preserving covenants made between Mesopotamian tribal kings and their subjects.
d. It basically says the Creator of the Universe submitted to the terms of a contract so relationship would be well-defined. It’s pretty awesome that God would want to do that.
4. God’s covenant-making and keeping became the model for faithful, loyal human relationships – like the one Jehoida made with the Levites and leaders of Judah to
get their help to install Joash on the throne.
a. Later, Jehoida leads these people to reaffirm their covenant with God. As if to say: “our covenant won’t last if we don’t put our covenant with God first.”
5. Which leads to an important point: we tend to think contracts are voided if one side fails to
do what’s expected.
a. If you stop making payments on your mortgage, your house is foreclosed. Stop worshiping God and he will bring down his wrath and judgement.
b. Jeremiah spoke about a new covenant, which would instead be based on forgiveness, mercy and restoration.
i. Jesus broke the bread and poured the cup at the last supper, it was to announce a new covenant guaranteed by his sacrifice on the cross.
c. God’s covenant with us results in grace. And those we share with each other should as well.
6. So the fourth ‘inside the box’ principle to having
true, lasting contentment in your life is to build covenant into relationships so the security you get from them will go on and on.
a. As Jehoida showed, the key covenant to have is one with God, who has submitted to keeping the promise
of blessing you, providing for you, protecting you, and, most important, forgiving and restoring you when you struggle to do your part.
i. If you don’t know the true nature of the God who makes covenant with you, that would be a good starting place.
b. It’s good to have a lot of acquaintances, casual friends and Facebook or Twitter followers, but to have contentment you need to submit yourself to some covenant relationships – thick and thin, based on grace, meant to go the long haul.
i. Your spouse if you have one, close friends, mentor or mentee, support group in the church.
7. One more thing. When I did a Bible search for the word “covenant’ I came across Dt.
29:14: “not with you alone am I making this covenant.” This is really important to understand.
a. The covenants you receive aren’t the only covenants you have.
i. God is making the same covenant with other people that he is making with you.
ii. So your life needs to be a balance of covenant-receiving
iii. Where YOU’RE the one providing support, faithfulness, loyalty, friendship and help in a time of need.
b. The Church of Jesus Christ is a place where we receive the blessings of God’s covenant and then share it with each other.
i. This is not a place where acquaintances should stay casual for long.
ii. We covenant to quickly get into life with each other, supply support, and stick together through thick and thin. That becomes the strong foundation for our ability to do God’s mission in the world.
8. Joash chest
a. Take your handout, the names which you wrote down earlier as YOUR support, and offer to God your covenant to be THEIR support –based on the grace God has shown you.
b. We have a Joash chest similar to one Jehoida and Joash put in the temple to receive the thank-offerings of the people to God.