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June 7, 2012

Most of you have heard of the parable found in Matthew 25:1-13 of the ten virgins. If not, for this blog, I recommend reading it.

To fully understand this parable knowledge of the typical Jewish wedding day in biblical times is helpful. The time of betrothal between the groom and bride can range from a month to a year, and the bride was unaware of how long the time would be.

While waiting for the wedding day, the bride, with the help of her attendants, would prepare her clothes and body for the ceremony. The groom would be preparing their future home and paying off the debt if any had occurred in the purchase of the bride. The groom had to complete these two things prior before the marriage. Also, the groom could not get married until his father approved of the home he had prepared for his bride. When he received that approva,l he was able to go and get his bride.

On the day of the ceremony which always occurs after sundown, a groomsman starts shouting, “Behold, the bridegroom comes,” and a shofar is sounded followed by a procession making a jubilant noise thru the streets to the bride’s home. The bride knows the marriage is going to happen; however, the exact hour or day is unbeknownst to her.  When she hears the jubilant noise, she and her attendants are to be prepared to meet the groom and join the procession with oil in their lamps since it will be dark outside. When the groom arrives the bride, and her party is whisked off into the night back to the groom’s father’s house for the consummation of the wedding and its’ festivities.

If you read the parable, you will note there was a commonality among the ten.

  1. All were virgins.
  2. All were equipped with a lamp.
  3. All were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom.
  4. Physically all were in a dormant state.
  5. All heard the midnight cry.
  6.  All responded to the cry.

However, the wise five were prepared for the night travel, knew how to say no, and were able to participate in the wedding festivities at the appointed time.

The foolish five suffered a different fate. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You know the drill?” Well, the five foolish virgins knew they would need oil for their lamp; however, like most of us, they failed to prepare for the inevitable. To name a few excuses they either: did not anticipate the arrival of the groom, thought others would help them fix their dilemma, were procrastinators, or just lazy. Consequently, their actions prevented their entrance into the wedding celebrations, and they missed the opportunity to participate in an event in which they were supposed to be involved.

Each one of us needs to exam our lives and determine if we fall into the category of the wise or the foolish. There are many opportunities available to us that we miss because of our negligence. The good thing to know is today is a new day, and we can change the course of our life, and do better!

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