Ten Virgins, All Individuals

Ten Virgins, All Individuals

Matthew 25:1-11

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.  As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’

These verses are referred to as The Parable of the Ten Virgins.  It tells us to be ever vigilant for the return of Christ.  No one, and I mean no one, knows when or where.  You must stay vigilant, disciplined and be prepared.

But I found another meaning in this story, another lesson to be learned. Continue reading

Cannot Escape The Law

Cannot Escape The Law

Isaiah 24:1-2

Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
    and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
    as with the slave, so with his master;
    as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
    as with the lender, so with the borrower;
    as with the creditor, so with the debtor.

This is just another quick post about the balance of the universe.  Perhaps it would make more sense if I said equality of the universe.  Because Isaiah is writing about God’s consequences for sin and unrighteousness.  God’s will to balance things. Continue reading

What Does The Lord Require?

What Does The Lord Require?

Micah 6:6-8

“With what shall I come before the Lord,
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

I made a note about these three verses but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write.  Now, as I read them and begin to write this piece, I realize just how simple a message it is, yet so eloquently stated.

In the English Standard Version of the Bible, these verses are titled, “What Does the Lord Require?” Continue reading

Text Book For The Future

Text Book For The Future

Joel 1: 2-3

Hear this, you elders;
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
    or in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children of it,
    and let your children tell their children,
    and their children to another generation.

The English Standard Version Bible titles Chapter 1 of the Book of Joel as,  “An Invasion of Locust”.   Joel is referring to the outside invaders of Jerusalem, who will plunder and carry off the nation of Israel to Babylon.  Joel poetically describes the destruction of a once great and powerful nation and its reduction to rubble.  He begins his lament with a warning to the elders of Israel, advising them to be sure they record this disaster and share it with future generations.  It’s basically the old adage, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Continue reading

Stands On Its Own

Stands On Its Own

Ezekiel 33:10-12

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

Every time I read through the Bible, the more I realize it comes down to personal responsibility.  Each of us is responsible for our lives.  Circumstances vary, forces outside of our control can act upon us, but how we react or how proactive we are is what makes us who we are. Continue reading

We Abandon God

We Abandon God

Lamentations 3:31-33

For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
    or grieve the children of men.

I have previously written about Lamentations, Chapter 3, verses 25 through 27.  In that post I wrote about seeking God and the consequences of your actions.  I then followed that post by writing about verses 28 through 30, which was about taking the responsibility for the consequences of your actions and then learning from those consequences.

Now today I want to write about the three verses at the beginning of this post, Lamentations, Chapter 3, verses 31 through 33. Continue reading

Bear The Yoke

Bear The Yoke

Lamentations 3:28-30

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

    and let him be filled with disgrace.

This post is a follow-up to my post, Waiting For You.  In that post I wrote about verses 25 through 27 which precede the above verses.  I wrote about the long, never-ending journey of seeking the Lord, and how you find the Lord bit by bit each day.  The Lord is always there waiting for us to find God.  The post also referenced, “bearing the yoke” of consequences of your decisions, particularly your bad decisions.  It is better to suffer and learn in your youth when you have time to recover.

In these next three verses, 28 through 30, Jeremiah talks about how bearing the consequences of our actions, we must look inward, take our share of blame and learn.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

God has given us a conscience and we know what is right and what is wrong.  We have the inherent ability to distinguish between good and evil.  Some of us just choose to ignore it, or allow our hearts to be filled with worldly desires, and ignore the yoke of the consequences.  But those who bear the yoke realized they have wronged and sinned, hurting others and themselves.

To seek righteousness and improve as human beings we must sit alone and place the blame on our shoulders, just as a yoke is placed on an oxen.

Circumstances vary and are outside of our control, but how we react, what we do, is our responsibility.  We can share with others our mistake and seek solace, but the consequences are ours to sit alone in silence and ponder.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.

When we take on this responsibility for our actions and sins, we feel hurt and sorrow that causes us to double over on the inside.  When we let the pain of our sins sink in that deep, we then realize we must correct ourselves and take control of our actions. We must seek God in our heart, find righteousness, and try not to sin again.

We will sin again, but as we learn from the suffering of the consequences there is hope.  We will recover and learn.  We will learn how to avoid sin.  The more you live your life, the more you seek God and righteousness, the better you become at finding God and righteousness.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

Again Jeremiah is lamenting to us to take responsibility for our sins.  Do not shift the blame.  You are responsible for your actions and must learn that the only person who can bring disgrace upon you is you.  No one else can force you to sin. You control you and are responsible for you.  This is the yoke that God has placed on each of us.  Your mistakes and sin are your burden, placed there by you and only you can lift them.

Sit alone in silence, bury your face in the dust, and realize the one who strikes your cheek in disgrace is you.  Then you will begin to learn.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.