Keeping Watch

A parable is a familiar story that helps us to understand a spiritual truth. Jesus used several short parables to teach us that although we are here as pilgrims and strangers in this land, occupying until He comes, we should always be spiritually prepared for His coming.
Today let’s look at the parable of the 10 bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
This story begins after the first 2 stages of the Jewish Wedding.
The first stage was the engagement and the second was the betrothal. Now comes the third stage, the marriage. In this third stage, the bridegroom comes unexpectedly for the bride. No one knows the day nor the hour, for preparations for the marriage were being made.
Now, as we read in Matthew 25:1-13, the time has come, stage 3. The Wedding!
1. “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”
What do you think about the Lord’s coming? Are you “keeping watch,” or do you think like everyone else does? (Isaiah 8: 11 says “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does.”)
Well, let’s begin by looking at what it means to “keep watch.” We see that the 5 wise bridesmaids had an extra supply of oil with them. This means their lamps were always ready to shine bright even if he is delayed. They were prepared.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, “keeping watch” comes from an ongoing relationship with Him. This means spending quality time with Him where you both share back and forth everything that’s on your heart. The main way you will hear Him speak to you is through His Word, the Bible. If you are a new believer or if you seem to be struggling lately, I want you to get your Bible out! The New Living Translation is a great one to start with. Turn to the New Testament. As you begin reading, ask Him to share His heart with you. Then think about what you read, and let Him speak. Don’t get in a hurry. Listen for His voice.
“Keeping watch” is also about sharing your own burdens and dreams with Him. As you begin to do this your trust will begin to be secured in Him from the quality time you spend together. You can trust Jesus with anything. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” That means everything! A place where you can exhale. In these trying times, doesn’t that bring joy to your ears to know you can lay all your cares at His feet in prayer?
Now, one final note on how to “keep watch” is, as you spend time with the Lord, you will begin to hear His heartbeat for the world and His plan to use you to partner with Him. The way the Lord does this is to place you in a local church body. The Lord will empower you with a Spiritual gift to minister in this local body of believers. They need you and the gift the Lord gives you, and you need them and their gift as well. This is loving one another and growing together in Christ. Then, as a church body you will reach the world for Jesus. Shining bright for Him. So they too will know how to “keep watch.” This is His good plan for you!
As you learn to pour out your life to others, He consistently pours back into yours.
So now, what about the rest of the world, what are they thinking? Those with maybe a little oil, like the 5 foolish bridesmaids with just enough to get by for now, but no more. They are not prepared to “keep watch.” In Isaiah’s day, according to the above Isaiah scripture, the children of God were in a crisis. The enemy army was stirring around them and they were in a panic and fearful because of the enemies threats. They would not turn to God or even listen to His Word or treat Him as Holy. Their priorities were out of order. Does this sound like our world today? They were not thinking like God thinks by turning to Him in prayer and listening for His instructions which comes by “Keeping Watch.”
We live in a world full of fear and anxiety. We are living in uncertain times. Satan, the enemy of our souls, will try to tempt us to turn our focus from God and on to the crisis around us. Many in our world are not “keeping watch” at all. They are consumed with themselves, living unholy lives, turning their back on God, and going their own way. They are missing the fact that the Bridegroom could come at any moment.
We need to wake up and “keep watch” with our lamps full and overflowing so the people around us as well will see their need for a Savior.
Remember, He is a Holy God, and He will not answer the door from the inside. “Keeping watch” is not a “left over Jesus experience in an old lamp”
We can’t live like the world and expect to just trim our lamp at the last second to see clear enough to get to the door before there is total darkness. Many will knock, but the door will be locked. They will hear Him say from the other side of the door, “I don’t know you.”

Well, are you shining bright by “keeping watch” or thinking like the world?
If you’re not sure, please stop right now, and check your oil! Then call out to Him so you can “Keep Watch” too!

By Deann Dolan