With Thanksgiving now in the past, the word “satisfied” came to my mind. Like with many English words, depending on context, satisfied can have a variety of meanings. We can satisfy a debt by paying it off or we can satisfy an equation by finding the value that solves it. But in the context of Thanksgiving, it means that our expectations, needs, or desires have been met; we were satisfied by our Thanksgiving celebration.
However, defining satisfaction by meeting our need or desires seems inadequate. For example, you could be satisfied by a piece of pumpkin pie that I offer you. However, if there were two pieces of pie and I gave you the smaller one, it might negatively affect your satisfaction. Here, satisfaction has less to do with the pie and more to do with the portion size.
Contentment is a good synonym for satisfaction. In fact the first definition of satisfied is “contented; pleased.” The trouble with contentment is that it too can be as elusive satisfaction. While the smaller piece of pie might “satisfy” my appetite, I may not be content with it!
Now having entered the Christmas season, it would be good to consider how we can find satisfaction in the holidays. Being inundated by promises from retailers to satisfy our desires, we should ask if there is a better place to look. Recently, a friend mentioned a verse from Jeremiah 31 that tells us a better way. It’s found in the midst of a message of comfort that reminds the exiles of Israel’s Northern Kingdom of the Lord’s everlasting love and deliverance.
The Lord promises that with Israel’s regathering, there will be a restoration of God’s material blessings; those restored to the land will rejoice in the bounty of crops and flocks. Jeremiah compares Israel’s material blessing to a well-watered garden that produces in abundance. This outpouring of blessing will bring gladness, comfort, and joy in the people.
The promise of satisfaction is in verse 14, “I will refresh the priests with an abundance, and my people will be satisfied with my goodness. This is the LORD’s declaration.” (Jeremiah 31:14) Does the Lord’s goodness satisfy you? Does it satisfy like a Thanksgiving feast? If not, then it is likely that we have failed to fully understand the Lord’s goodness.
John Piper makes the following observation concerning satisfaction, “The experience of satisfaction corresponds to desire and longing and yearning in the human heart… Everybody has desires, longings, yearnings, wanting’s. God made us that way. Our problem as sinners is not that our desires are too strong, but that they are directed toward the wrong things.” If we are not looking to the Lord’s goodness to find satisfaction, what are we looking to?
On July 4, 1880 Charles Spurgeon, the eminent preacher of the last century, preached on how we can find our satisfaction in the Lord’s goodness by answering a few questions. First, are you satisfied with God’s eternal purposes? Satisfied? That word seems scarcely good enough. Knowing that God’s purpose was to give life to those dead in their sins (Romans 6), satisfied seems to dramatically understate the delight that we should feel within our soul.
Second, are you satisfied with your adoption into God’s family through Christ? Certainly we should be. We should be amazed by the Lord’s goodness that is revealed in our adoption as children, “all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12–13)
Next, are you satisfied with God's dealings with you? Do you feel as God’s beloved child or have you doubted or questioned His love? The proof of His love for us is revealed in the sacrificial love shown to us in Christ, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly… God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6,8)
Finally, are you satisfied with the goodness of God in his promises? This is possibly the most important question of them all for the hope of our faith hangs on the promises of God. Our eternal hope rests in the promise that we are saved by believing in Christ (Romans 10:9). In this, and the other points too, not only can we find satisfaction in the Lord’s promises but also in the Lord’s goodness revealed to us in Christ.