When Comfort is My Enemyby Cynthia Jennings on September 8, 2021
Certain. Predictable. Comfortable.
These are all words that could be used to describe my life.
Would you be okay with these being the defining terms of your life?
As I sat and thought about these words that so accurately describe my life I began to think, what if the certainties and comfort I (we) so crave today are deadly recipes for complacency that will draw our hearts further away from God?
Whereas comfort, certainty and predictability are not bad. We still need to be aware of the danger associated with something that is good.
There are many examples of dangers that lead to complacency in the Bible, but the passage in Jeremiah 48:11(NIV) sticks out at the moment. “Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another—she has not gone into exile. So, she tastes as she did, and her aroma is unchanged.”
On the surface, it may look like the nation of Moab has it good. They are comfortable and life seems predictable. They’ve been at rest for quite some time.
But Jeremiah 48:11 is very clear that this is not what’s best for them.
People left in a complacent place for too long become tainted like impure wine.
“Wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another” (v11) means it’s been sitting in comfort for so long that it has absorbed the aroma of complacency. The picture painted here is that Moab had never been exiled and therefore was complacent and had never changed his evil ways.
Winemakers during Jeremiah’s time poured wine from jar to jar for two reasons. First, so the wine wouldn’t absorb the flavor of the vessel. And second, to rid the wine of the sediment that would settle into the bottom and prevent the wine from being pure.
The Moabites were lulled into a false sense of security. In the meantime, the Moabites’ neighbors, the Israelites, were forced to depend on God and learn to survive suffering, captivity and enslavement. The Israelites appear to be the ones not being rescued from hardship by God. But if we look through the lens of what’s best in the long term, Israel was being strengthened by God for her eventual good.
Make no mistake, being lulled into a false sense of security is worse than going through the process of suffering.
Scripture reveals that the eventual fate of the Moabites was one of complete ruin (Isaiah 16:6-10). It would have been better for them to go through the Israelites’ experience. To go from vessel to vessel, and experience suffering in doses that made them strong enough to handle suffering in even larger doses.
We must sip the suffering of today so we don’t have to drown in the devastations of tomorrow.
To be poured into new vessels might seem uncomfortable, chaotic and completely unfair while we are suffering in the moment, but God wants us to know we can trust Him in the midst of it.
God helps us get rid of the dregs — weakness, fear, complacency and the hopeless resignation that all of life is unfair. He’s on guard, looking to strengthen us for what He sees coming. And He is fulfilling the promise of Colossians 1:10-12.
Settling into complacency might seem to be comfortable for today. But in the long run, like the Moabites, if lulled into a false sense of security, we too may suffer more if we go untouched by God for too long.
PEARLStoPONDER: Without challenges and changes, people tend to grow increasingly distant from God and resistant to His ways.
Jeremiah 48:11-12-- “Moab has been at ease from his youth and has settled on his dregs;
he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile; so his taste remains in him, and his scent is not changed.12 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall send to him pourers who will pour him, and empty his vessels and break his jars in pieces.
Matthew 19:26-- But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Philippians 1:6-- And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:11-- Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.
2 Timothy 1:7-- For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.