June 9, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forevermore. AMEN. (2 Peter 3.17-18)
Does it mean, then, that if we possess the wisdom of God and seek to be wise in this Age we do not need knowledge? Of course, not. Who among us possesses all knowledge and wisdom? Not one! Even Jesus did not know the day nor the hour of His return, as He said, “Only My Father in Heaven possesses that knowledge.” Jesus did, however, possess the wisdom to trust the One who had that knowledge. He also knew that when the time was right that knowledge would be given. It is for us all wise, therefore, to be ready to receive the knowledge when it is revealed. And so, we may not possess the knowledge but we are aware of the One who does. We must then not be caught off guard as were the five foolish virgins who did not tend their “lamps.” “Lamps” are a teaching visual reference to knowledge. Those who were wise not only kept the wick short so as not to burn too much oil but they had sufficient supply so as to not be caught without resource. They were wise stewards of their calling.
And what was that calling? It was nothing less than being on the ready for when the news of the coming of the Groom would be broadcast and the wedding party would be prepared to celebrate. Regardless of what else they were doing in life, nothing was more important than keeping their lamps at the ready. Why keep the lamps ready? Because the Groom might come like a thief in the night. Not that the Groom was a thief nor bound by any intention to steal the Bride away or take that which did not belong to Him. No, I believe there is a far deeper and greater truth at play here. It is in the darkness that we tend to be less diligent to remain faithful. We think that under the cover of darkness or in the hidden places where “no one” can see that we can placate the longing of the flesh and forsake the wisdom of the Spirit. Sin loves the darkness. I have little doubt that the Serpent came to Eve at night. Perhaps he invaded her dreams and then invited her into his nightmare. Regardless, the play of light and dark is significant. We must possess knowledge of readiness and then be wise to use that knowledge to be at the ready.
And what of the five foolish? Well, they certainly burned “the midnight oil.” You think that phrase is of modern derivation? It has deep roots and a stern warning. What good does it do us to “burn the midnight oil”? Oh, we think we must work harder and longer to accomplish more and receive a greater reward? At what cost? How valuable is it to surrender all knowledge and wisdom to gain the world’s attention, admiration and applause. Don’t we remember the teaching of Jesus, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world but surrender their soul?” He goes on to say “How is it that when a man seeks to save his own life, he will lose it. But, if a man loses (surrenders/sacrifices) his life for the sake of the gospel then he will find it [gain it.]” (Matthew 16 and Mark 8) The foolish, read unwise, lost all sense of time and purpose. They lived in the moment and were caught off guard. They were not prepared with the knowledge that had been given to them by tradition and by the one for whom they waited. How important it is, mighty ones of God, to see how the disciples waited in Jerusalem as Jesus commanded. What did they receive? They were already saved and had the promise of eternal life validated by the resurrection of Jesus. What more could one ask? The truth is that they asked only “when will You return; if not now, when.” Jesus then promised them the “fire” that would never cease burning- the joy in their heart, the power in their soul, the blessing of the Holy Spirit. They waited for its coming as much as they waited for His return. It fueled the broadcast of the gospel and the proposal of their lives. They waited patiently and appropriately and found their reward.
And what is that reward? Money? Fame? Fortune? Worldly status? Power of armies? Big homes? Abundant possessions? No, the reward was the fulfillment of their purpose to love God, neighbor, enemy, self and importantly to the community of faith- one another. It is the ability to love as God loves for the reason God loves that was empowered. Paul wrote “If I could speak in angel tongues, divine wisdom, possess all knowledge, prophesy things yet to come they mean nothing if I do not have God’s love.” Mighty ones of God, we are called to be wise and not foolish; ready and not complacent. We are in the age of preparation but we are also called to be preparing those around us with the knowledge and wisdom of the Groom and His Father who commands the day and the hour of His return. We dare not be caught outside the door when it is closed!
OUR CALL TO PRAYER: Father God, maker of Heaven and earth, we bow before You and give thanks. You are seeking to make us wise in the ways of Your Kingdom so that we may accomplish the good which You have made us for on earth. Our hope is that this will truly be as close to “our Father’s world” as possible. We declare we are at the ready. We will not be able to accomplish this without the blessing of Your Holy Spirit. Form and shape in us the awareness of “this age” we are meant to live in. Help us to be better in producing it and promoting it over “this age” we now live in. To You will be all glory and honor given in Jesus’ name. AMEN.