by Wade E Taylor
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.” Matthew 25:1-2
When considering this passage of Scripture, we may attempt to identify those who are foolish, rather than looking at ourselves. The only way we can point a finger at someone is to point three fingers at ourselves. If we will apply this verse to ourselves, it can be said that each one of us is half-wise and half-foolish.
Thus, we cast the deciding vote as to where we will be found in “that day” – either among those who are wise, or among the foolish.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet Him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Matthew 25:5-10
The desire and intention of the Lord is that we will be found among the wise; thus, the exhortation that those who are wise should take “oil” with them (renew their strength). This oil results from an active on-going devotional life, by which we receive from the Lord a supply of His grace.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (receive grace); they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31
The “oil” (grace) enables us to respond quickly to His Word of direction and purpose, or to His word of correction. When corrected, we can tell whether the chastisement is coming from the Lord to bring correction, or is condemnation from the enemy. A word from the Lord may be sharp and cut, for the Word is as a two-edged sword, but it will present to us an understandable way through. As we submit to its intent, we will be drawn closer to the Lord.
The Word of the Lord always encourages and leads to life. On the other hand, the enemy will condemn us and tell us that we really missed it, and will never be spiritual. He will place tormenting thoughts within us, that we may as well give up. The word of the enemy always discourages and leads to death.
There were ten virgins. The word “virgin” tells us that these have spiritual potential, but have not yet unconditionally submitted themselves to His purposes. Ten, the number of completion, tells us that the Lord will fully prepare us for the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” if we will respond rightly to Him.
The wise rejected the tendency toward spiritual indifference and discouragement. They began to seek the Lord and to spend quality time in His presence. They asked for, and quickly responded to the dealings of the Lord, that they might be changed and become pleasing to Him.
The foolish, however, remained satisfied with surface blessings, and responded to the Lord according to their emotions, seeking only their present comfort and satisfaction. Each one of us has these tendencies within us – five (one-half) wise, and five (one-half) foolish. Thus, our vote will determine the way we will go.
There is an application of this principle to our everyday life experience. The wise, having oil, were able to respond to the needs of others that arose along the daily path of life. The foolish, not having oil, were not prepared and had nothing to offer. Therefore, when the time came to enter, they were not ready because they had neglected process of preparation.
Our relationship to the Lord must be based on a practical, active friendship with Jesus, including Him in everything we face in life. The foolish were only interested in seeking present fulfillment and satisfaction. They were curious about the “time” when Jesus would appear at the door, but they were not prepared when it suddenly came.
Five actively sought to do something about their circumstances, and five were indifferent and passive. If, in all things, we daily seek to please the Lord, and daily, we set apart time to have fellowship with Him, and daily, we let Jesus know that we love Him and greatly appreciate His working in our lives, we will have the required oil that will enable us to enter (I will fill their treasures).
“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me… That I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:17, 21
We cannot overcome a problem by struggling against it, but rather by displacing it with the thoughts of the Lord. These are available to us, as we commune with Him. If we are having a problem with our thoughts, we should begin to meditate on His presence, and repeat the “words” of the Lord, especially in the Sermon on the Mount.
“His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:23
The wise will be rewarded by the Lord because they willingly, in anticipation, do these things, but the foolish will not.