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May 30 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Seventy-nine – Matthew 25:1-13

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Matthew 25:5-6

In this passage, Jesus tells the first of three stories that illustrate and illuminate the last section of Matthew 24. Ten virgins took their lamps and ventured into the night to meet the bridegroom. When he arrived, he was going to usher them into the wedding feast. But then Jesus introduced a complication into the story, “the bridegroom was delaying.”

The bridegroom’s late arrival exactly describes our experience. Although Jesus told the disciples that no one knew the “day or hour” of his return, they certainly expected it to happen in their lifetime (Mt. 24:32; Acts 1:6). Many of Jesus’ predictions in Matthew 24 were fulfilled within forty years of his death and resurrection. But other predictions, now some two thousand years later, remain unfulfilled.

When someone is a little late for an appointment, we get impatient. If they are very late, we get worried. If they are unreasonably late, we give up hope that they will ever arrive. When Jesus told this parable, did he know a day would come when many would despair of his return? If so, what is he telling us? Just this, that it is our wisdom to adjust to the tension of our situation by behaving as if he were going to return tonight and preparing as if he will not return in our lifetime.

O Jesus, we are relieved that You did not find fault with the ten women for falling asleep, but only with the five for not being “on the alert.” To our way of thinking, it seems You should have arrived by now. It seems that our prayers for enlightenment to Your will, a stronger resistance to sin, and a closer relationship with You should have been answered by now. Give us grace to live with delays without losing our edge or missing the opportunities to notice Your daily movements through our world when You do pass our way.

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