Proverbs 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.”
Observe the uneasy bird. She is uneasy with her home-nest. This bird seems unwilling to embrace the responsibilities commensurate with nest-life. The implication is that she is wandering from her offspring, her brood. She leaves the nest, as Tom Petty might say, to head out “into the great wide open.” However, she would be mistaken to assume all will be blue skies. Her nest was a place of refuge and stability, but she has forsaken it, thereby forfeiting security therein. Likewise, the discontent man that wanders from his place in the world–he forfeits the security of his God ordained place in this world.
At back this wanderlust attitude is failure or unwillingness to keep the Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet.” What is coveting? It is any unethical, insatiable and inordinate desire for anything that God has allotted to others. Essentially you are not at peace with God’s disposal of you. What originally was merely an immoral attitude–e.g., unease with God’s providence, discontent, covetousness, etc.–it may in time externally manifest itself by immoral actions, like wandering from one’s place and abdicating one’s duty.
How does coveting reveal that you are not at peace with God and his providence? Because it is God alone who is the Master and Creator of the Universe, and God alone determines everything. That is, God is all wise, all powerful, and, thus, God is the all-knowing Divine Provider. Coveting is a sin that swims in the soup of discontentment. Coveting is bad fruit which proceeds from a heart at odds with and contrary to God and the good purpose of his will. Coveting is fundamental mistrust of God. As Thomas Watson described it, coveting is a “mother sin” because it oftentimes gives birth to other sins. When this unethical attitude and unethical desire is left un-mortified in the heart, it oftentimes leads to a myriad of sins.
The antithesis of the discontent man who wanders is the man who contently abides.
Does the 10th Commandment reveal that you are not trusting God? That you are not happy with God’s providence? That you are jealous of God’s blessings upon other people? Does God’s kindness to other people get you all tweaked? Are you like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son–little brother comes home, and daddy lavishes kindness and mercy upon him, and you are so upset about your father’s disposal and care towards the younger brother that you then refuse your father’s request to come into the house and participate in the banquet and celebration?
In 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to be content: “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called . . . Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” Paul was telling the Corinthian believers to play the ball where it lies. For example: If you are a husband or wife, then do not wander away from the gift of the happy land of marriage.
Are you a bird plagued with discontentment for her nest and brood? Are you the man habitually abdicating and wandering from the duties of your identity, your place in this world? If so, then repent. Repent and return, and, in so far as objective reality allows and you are able, embrace the gift of embodying a place, an identity, and a purpose in this world. Exercise contentment, so that “wherein you are called, therein” you might “abide with God.”
The basis of Christian contentment is grounded in a believer’s new identity in Christ–Colossians 2:6: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” Filled with the Spirit, we can exercise loyalty to God’s revealed will for our place in the world. Drawing power from your identity in Christ, you can endeavor to live after a fashion consistent with your identity, and you can be oriented towards your place in the world. Believers must not wander from their place, nor their commensurate duties. When a bird forfeits her nest she forfeits her security. New Life for believers is in Christ. So, with saving faith receive, rest, and remain in Christ: your place, your identity, your contentment, your security, your purpose, your joy, etc., all is in Christ.
If you truly believe that Christ is all, if you truly believe that Christ is sufficient, then what could you possibly be discontent about? Why covet? What out there “under the great big wide open” could possibly tempt you to wander from your place?
So, abide, stay, remain, and be who you are, in Christ (see John 15). Trust God, believe in Jesus, be led by the Spirit, and, with Spirit-worked faith, cling to God’s promise: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).