In this short story, Jesus tells why God allows evil to continue in the world. According to Jesus, if God uprooted all the evil people (the weeds) now, others (the wheat) might be uprooted along with them.
For now, God’s allowing evil doesn’t mean he condones it. Rather, God is waiting for people to turn to him and accept his leadership in their lives. After all, if tonight at midnight God wiped out all the people who hadn’t yet trusted in him, where would you be in the morning?
Verse 30 gives us an image of the final separation that God will initiate at the end of time. On that day, God wants to gather you, as one of his people, into his heaven. Won’t you accept that gracious offer?
Taken from NIV The Journey Bible
The Great Exchange
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed. (Romans 1:16–17)
We need righteousness to be acceptable to God. But we don’t have it. What we have is sin.
So God has what we need and don’t deserve — righteousness; and we have what God hates and rejects — sin. What is God’s answer to this situation?
His answer is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died in our place. God lays our sins on Christ and punishes them in him. And in Christ’s obedient death, God fulfills and vindicates his righteousness and imputes (credits) it to us. Our sin on Christ, his righteousness on us.
We can hardly stress too much that Christ is God’s answer. It is all owing to Christ.
You can’t love Christ too much. You can’t think about him too much or thank him too much or depend upon him too much. All our justification, all our righteousness, is in Christ.
This is the gospel — the good news that our sins are laid on Christ and his righteousness is laid on us, and that this great exchange happens for us not by works but by faith alone.
Here is the good news that lifts burdens and gives joy and makes strong.
God has promised a child to Abram, but both Abram and Sarai become convinced they must figure out how to make this happen.
Waiting for God
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.)
Sarai was following a common practice of that time when she gave Hagar to Abram as a substitute wife. But at the same time, Sarai took matters into her own hands by doing this.
Abram was also acting in line with the custom of the day, but his action showed a lack of faith that God would fulfill his promise.
When we take over God’s role, we don’t give faith the chance to grow. Waiting on God can take a long time. In Abram and Sarai’s case, time was the greatest test of their faith and willingness to let God work in their lives on his schedule. Sometimes we, too, must simply wait. When we ask God for something and have to wait, we can be tempted to take matters into our own hands and interfere with God’s purposes. Like Abram and Sarai, we might fail along the way. But God is patient with us like he was with Abram and Sarai.
What situation have you been trying to control? How can you wait for God’s timing?
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6).
Streams in the Desert – April 29
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are (James 5:17).
Thank God for that! He got under a juniper tree, as you and I have often done; he complained and murmured, as we have often done; was unbelieving, as we have often been. But that was not the case when he really got into touch with God. Though “a man subject to like passions as we are,” “he prayed praying.” It is sublime in the original–not “earnestly,” but “he prayed in prayer.” He kept on praying. What is the lesson here? You must keep praying.
Come up on the top of Carmel, and see that remarkable parable of Faith and Sight. It was not the descent of the fire that now was necessary, but the descent of the flood; and the man that can command the fire can command the flood by the same means and methods. We are told that he bowed himself to the ground with his face between his knees; that is, shutting out all sights and sounds. He was putting himself in a position where, beneath his mantle, he could neither see nor hear what was going forward.
He said to his servant, “Go and take an observation.” He went and came back, and said–how sublimely brief! one word–“Nothing!”
What do we do under such circumstances?
We say, “It is just as I expected!” and we give up praying. Did Elijah? No, he said, “Go again.” His servant again came back and said, “Nothing!” “Go again.” “Nothing!”
By and by he came back, and said, “There is a little cloud like a man’s hand.” A man’s hand had been raised in supplication, and presently down came the rain; and Ahab had not time to get back to the gate of Samaria with all his fast steeds. This is a parable of Faith and Sight–faith shutting itself up with God; sight taking observations and seeing nothing; faith going right on, and “praying in prayer,” with utterly hopeless reports from sight.
Do you know how to pray that way, how to pray prevailingly? Let sight give as discouraging reports as it may, but pay no attention to these. The living God is still in the heavens and even to delay is part of His goodness.
–Arthur T. Pierson
Each of three boys gave a definition of faith which is an illustration of the tenacity of faith. The first boy said, “It is taking hold of Christ”; the second, “Keeping hold”; and the third, “Not letting go.”