As we await the soon return of the Lord, one of the passages of scripture that is on everyone’s mind, is the parable of the ten virgins from Matthew 25. We are all familiar with it – the five, who were ready with their lamps and oil and the five, who were not. I don’t know about you but, I always found it interesting that those who were not ready were instructed by those who were, to “go and buy” oil for themselves.
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell and buy some for yourselves.” Matthew 25: 7-9
Knowing that oil, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit (and by extension kingdom of God) is not for sale and cannot be bought or transferred one to another, I was always a bit stymied by this verse – not understanding exactly what it meant.
But, on second thought, I realized it was really not so odd, that the five wise virgins had instructed the five foolish virgins to “go and buy”, for God, had counseled the rich and complacent church at Laodicea to do the same.
“You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But, you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover you shameful nakedness ; and salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” Revelation 3:17-18
Here God plainly counsels the Laodiceans to “buy” from him? But, how is that possible? How could the Laodiceans purchase anything from God, if they were as poor as he said, they were? Which, is exactly the point!
In terms of human economy, it makes no sense at all but, in God’s economy, it makes perfect sense. Which is why God says in Isaiah 55:1-3 -
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
I like the way Pastor J.C. Philpot explains in it in his marvelous sermon titled “Heavenly Buying” preached at Zoar Chapel in London, August 3, 1846.
And excerpt from his message:
“But some may say, ‘Does not the Lord counsel the church of Laodicea to BUY this gold? How can she buy it? Is she not poor, miserable, and wretched? What has she to buy this faith with? Shall she present her gifts? Shall she offer her graces? Shall she bring her knowledge? Shall she come with her consistency? Shall she offer her merits? What has she to lay at the Lord’s feet in exchange for this “gold tried in the fire?”‘ Nothing—absolutely nothing; for she is poor, wretched, and miserable. What then has she to offer in exchange for this “gold tried in the fire?” for if she buys, she must have something to give in exchange.
But still there is great beauty in the expression—it was not used in vain. The Lord does not say to her, ‘I counsel you to ASK of me gold tried in the fire;’ but he used the word “buy.” And yet she has nothing to buy it with. How is this enigma to be solved? Thus—does not the word “buy” imply some exchange? Where there is a buyer, there must be a seller, and there must be an exchange between the parties. How does this take place in spiritual traffic? Thus—when the soul is deeply convinced of its helplessness, ignorance, blindness, wretchedness, and folly, and lays all these at the Lord’s feet, he takes them, so to speak, upon his own shoulders; and then, in return, he deals out of his loving bounteous heart, out of the fullness that dwells in himself, his precious treasures.
There is one passage that seems to show what this spiritual buying is, “He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (1 Cor. 5:21.) That is, our sins, our iniquities, our defilements, our shortcomings, our imperfections, were all laid upon Jesus; as we read “He has laid (or made to meet) upon him the iniquities of us all.” (Isa. 53:6.) As one says in the Old Testament, “Let all your needs lie upon me, only lodge not in the street.” (Judges 19:20.) So, when the Lord draws a poor guilty sinner to his bosom, he says, “Let all your needs lie upon me. Lay at my footstool your infirmities and your backslidings; your darkness, deadness, and coldness; your doubts and fears, your misgivings, your troubles, your exercises, your temptations, and your perplexities. Bear them not in your own strength; carry them not in your own arms; lay them not on your own shoulders; you can not bear them; they would sink you to hell. Let them all lie upon me.”
And as the Lord speaks, he draws the poor, needy, guilty sinner to his bosom, and enables him to lay at his feet all the exercises, temptations, and distresses of his soul. Thus the Holy Spirit dictates, “Cast your burden upon the Lord; he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm. 55:22.) And thus when the poor sinner is enabled to come, with all his helplessness, guilt, shame, sinfulness, and misery, and spread them before the Redeemer’s feet, and by an act of faith casts his burden upon the Lord, there takes place in the court of conscience a spiritual exchange, set forth in the text under the word “buy.” And this is the only buying—a buying “without money and without price.” (Isa. 55:1.) http://dawnmarie4.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/heavenly-buying-and-the-church-at-laodicea/
What a marvelous sermon, how awesome our God! I understand, now, the instructions to “go and buy” from God. For our poorness, wretchedness, nakedness and shame exchanged for the righteousness of Christ is the only transaction God will ever accept. – something, the five foolish virgins and the Laodiceans failed to understand.
The five wise Virgins actually gave good counsel to the five foolish, the problem is, that it was too late. In light of what God is showing us in these scriptures, may we make certain that we have made that “transaction” today, for, if we have not, by the time the bridegroom arrives, it will be too late.
“Father God, we come to you in our utter helplessness, nakedness and shame. We have nothing to offer you except our poorness of spirit. Please Father, give us eyes to see ourselves as you do, completely destitute and without hope; for if, we see ourselves as anything but, we are completely deluded, and, will find ourselves with lamps without oil, when the time comes. Please, help us now, dear God, to make that wise “purchase” asking you, Father, for what, only you can give. And, we thank you and praise you in Jesus name! Amen.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy