Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bringing My Lamp & My Oil


(Matthew 25:1-4)
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins 
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones 
took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, 
however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 

The Lord has really been pressing in my spirit the story of the ten virgins toward the end of the Book of Matthew. Even though I continued to read ahead I always seemed to make my way back to that small passage in the 25th chapter. This is one of my favorite parables that Jesus taught just because it mirrors the church as His bride, Jesus as the bridegroom, and He gives us another little glimpse of what bringing His kingdom down to earth looks like. I got some info about the tradition of Jewish weddings online because I really wanted to understand the context of what Jesus was talking about: "In Jewish society, the parents of the betrothed generally drew up the marriage contract. The bride and groom would meet, perhaps for the first time, when this contract was signed. The couple was considered married at this point, but they would separate until the actual time of the ceremony. The bride would remain with her parents, and the groom would leave to prepare their home. This could take quite a while. When the home was all ready, the groom would return for his bride without notice. The marriage ceremony would then take place, and the wedding banquet would follow."

When I started to read, a picture was painted in my head of these ten young ladies, half careless and the other half expectantly waiting for the groom to arrive. I imagined their talks of what he looked like standing at the altar, of where they would live together, and when he was coming. I imagined them pacing back and forth looking out of the windows to be the first ones to run to His side. At this point he could be right around the corner or far off in the distance: It was a total surprise visit waiting to happen. For any girl it's hard to wait, can I get an amen? I can picture joy turning into expectancy, expectancy turning into impatience, and impatience turning into boredom. The young women became so tired of waiting that they fell asleep. When the bridegroom arrived at midnight to take the ladies to the banquet to celebrate, the ones that were prepared followed with their well-oiled lamps while the one's that weren't were left behind and denied entrance into the feast.

The details of this parable are so important. What the Spirit pressed in my heart was that the wise virgins that were prepared with their lamps and oil are a symbol of God's church being ready through the filling of His Word and His Holy Spirit. Psalm 119:105 automatically popped up into my head word by word and I was like yes Lord, I understand. But right after He revealed that the lamp was talking about God's Word He then spoke this strongly into my spirit: The ladies that were left out had their lamps but lacked the oil...that oil is my Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit to breathe a new revelation of God's Word into our lives we the church will not see the glory of Jesus manifested here on earth. This is like supplementing His signs and wonders for a Bible study. We need the combination. We can't have one without the other. It is His desire for all of His children to move in the power of the Holy Spirit. These ten women, symbolizing the church, knew that without the oil eventually the fire was going to burn out and they would not be able to see their bridegroom coming and would either miss Him or get lost trying to go out to meet Him.

(Psalm 119:105)
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.

The Bible is the instrument that The Lord provides us with so that we can follow the path that He's marked out before us and His Holy Spirit is the source of power that is needed to turn keep the fire burning. His anointing in our lives is his seal of ownership because knowing the word alone won't do it, this just opens the door for religion. We need His Word + His Holy Spirit anointing in order to produce fire (power) in our lives.

(2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. 
He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit 
in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
.


We have one of those antique oil lamps at home on top of our fridge that we've conserved for years for those stormy nights when the power goes out. I want to talk a little bit about the maintenance of an oil lamp. Humor me guys I promise it's important. After you've filled the bottom glass end with oil the wick (rectangular thick stringy thingy) has to be trimmed if it's been previously used because it's all burned up. In the the parable of the ten virgins I noticed that the moment the ladies heard that the bridegroom was coming they woke up and the first thing they did was trim their lamps. They had left their lamps burning the whole time that now the time came for them to re-fuel them with some oil and a clean wick. You know that moment when you read through something but then stop, make a curious face, and then read back again? That was my aha moment. I knew that this portion of was important somehow so I said, "Holy Spirit show me, explain why this is important." He likes to flood me and that's exactly what happened and continues to happen. Just like that "wick" our spiritual lives reach points of burn out when we're stuck on old revelations and past experiences when the Holy Spirit wants to give us something fresh and new. I've been there and gosh I'm sure we all have but what He spoke into my spirit was that we need to trim off the old burned up wick. We need to throw away what we think we know about God through what we've learned so far, to make room for Him to show up in our lives a new way. We need to throw out the window what we've heard of God and prepare ourselves for daily encounters. And I'm not talking about shutting out readings or men and women of God, not at all. But I am saying that living off of second hand information is scary and not enough. We need to have a personal relationship with God and then let second hand information serve as a compliment and as confirmation for what the Holy Spirit has already revealed to us first. Let's just let our bridegroom pay us a surprise visit. Let's be ready for that visit. I'm excited!

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