One of my favorite all time writers of devotionals is George H. Morrison (thanks to e-Sword® devotionals!); I simply cherish his writing style and depths of insight into the most easily glossed over phrases of Scripture. As a sort of tribute to him, for I believe I am learning from him too, I shall try to write this muse in the hope of mimicking his unique style of presentation. Here goes!
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. (Matthew 13:24-26 KJV)
Jesus’ Parables Usually Applied To More Than Their Subject Matter
Now, I sincerely believe in depth of words and character. It is the mark of a great life or book, to return repeatedly and each time find added riches and meaning to each of its words or events. And the Bible, arguably the greatest book, stands tall in this regard. Is it not surprising that its 66 books have been read for generations and still produce fresh insights? It is not the words alone though, but also the depth of the spirit behind them. And Jesus, that great a Man, displayed this trait in such wonderful fashion it still astounds many.
I believe this parable is a classic example: should you read it with the mind that He speaks about God’s kingdom in general, you are right, and will get the message. However, going deeper or shining another light, I believe it also refers to our heart and thoughts. In His masterful way, Jesus used this parable to also describe the details of the workings and mechanics of each man’s inner life, as we shall hopefully see as we go on.
The Enemy Was Not Invited, But Came In On His Own Anyway
Notice at once that in this parable, the enemy was not a planned event. I dare say, if the men had expected an ambush, would not the night watch be extra diligent? But they slept, all of them. And the enemy came at the least expected hour.
I cannot help but notice the similarity to our race in this world. Think, for instance, of the young boy flicking innocently through the channels on television. Bored is the little one, when suddenly he happens on a channel where he finds two adults being intimate with each other in a fashion meant only for the privacy of the bedroom. Intrigued he is, no doubt; excited, no less. This is harmless, comes the thought into his mind. So further he stares, and a little while later, for all life is really a little while, we find that young child has grown into an adult porn addict.
Or think again of the young man coming home from work, with his newly earned salary for the month, planning how he’ll manage it with his family of four. Passing his usual route, a group of men suddenly happen on him, weapons ablaze. Roughing him up a bit, they collect his earnings, and the man, body aching, thinks, I shant recover from this. Two months later, and this man is still in debt, with more bills imminent. He is at the end of his rope.
Ask any of these, for you probably might know some in real life, terrible world this is: sir, didst thou plan for this enemy to come into your life at that hour? Did you invite him? Nay, they shall reply. He came of his own at an unexpected hour. And this rings true for many other terrible examples of sudden troubles and disasters that sometimes eventually culminate in pain, distress and irrevocable damage: sudden illnesses, theft, false accusations, addictions, betrayal, misunderstandings, adultery…majority of these cases fall under the banner of The Enemy Came In At An Hour We Did Not Expect. See how, in a masterful way, Jesus used one painting of the kingdom to also describe what goes on in that secret closet of a man.
The Content Of The Enemy
Now another thing strikes me: picture you were the enemy in this story, and you came into your opponent’s field ready to strike, and find, to your delight most likely, that they are all asleep. Wouldn’t you, I dare suggest, ravage the land? Steal? Maybe even kill, or kidnap at the very least? Most likely you would, in a time of war. Isn’t that how the story ought to have gone? But this enemy is surprisingly only content with sowing false wheat and leaving.
Do you see how much meaning rings in this? We may think, “Burn his house! Destroy his treasures! Steal his wheat, and he shall be destroyed!” But this enemy says, “Nay, tried that I have with Job…to really destroy, disguise the bad with his good.” He had learnt, and sowing his tares, he walks away, whistling with his hands in his pocket: his conquest is complete.
Was he right? We need not look far for the answer. In majority of Paul’s letters, for example, he seems to mention tribulations, sufferings and the likes with lesser a gravity than most would dare, like they were a trifle. But what was the one thing he kept hammering and warning his faithful of? Contamination. “Doctrines of demons” he went so far as to label it at one point. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. The enemy’s strategy was right, and still effective today, sadly. Jesus could never more have made the truth obvious as He did here.
The Enemy’s Attacks Are Never About The Physical
And it is this very truth that makes the war we fight against sin and wickedness more serious as to wake everyone to the state of their secret closets: any attack of the enemy is never about physical pain primarily, but about getting tares into your heart.
Think, for instance, of that great a sphere of crime labeled sexual abuse. So many different kinds exist, but for the brevity of this devotional, that I would love to discuss the effects of all; however, I shall limit myself this time to the one we are all common with: rape.
Say a virgin gets raped, regardless of the fact that she hurt no one and didn’t deserve it. Also imagine it was done by a common male acquaintance with the help of her best friend whose confidence he had. Worse still, she is in the process of recovery when she learns she got pregnant. After hearing this terrible report, did you ever think that what ached your heart so was what it was all about? Now, far be it from me to belittle the pain and trauma such a victim goes through: I shall never do that. I am simply drawing attention to a disaster that may go unaware to many: the innumerable tares. Do you see those at work here? I shall point out one: this child is not worthy to live. Children are an heritage of the LORD, said the Psalmist, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. But this child, supposed to be wheat for all to see and enjoy, has a tare strongly growing beside it, all thanks to the enemy’s planting. Tell me, if she does not weed it out quickly, is it not likely that she will forever hate that child because of what happened to her? Would that tare not blossom if left to grow? And the child, growing up with such disdain, will wonder and question, and, if care is not taken, will also have many tares planted in his breast. And the cycle continues. Note, I only drew the effect of one tare; how about the tare of ‘God is not love’, ‘All men are deceitful pigs’, or ‘Trust no one’, and so many others? Enough potential to ruin countless lives, even those unborn. The rape was a one-time event. The harvest of those seeds sown, however, can last generations. And it is just this that goes to show the utter wickedness of sin. It also shows, however, that the physical event is not, and will never be, the full story, even if it involves a great deal of pain. The real goal of the enemy is to sow and reap tares; the pain, surprisingly, may even be a powerful enough distraction to keep us from seeing this! And Jesus, the Good Shepherd, uses this parable to warn us His flock to guard our heart diligently, for out of it spring the issues of life. Dear beloved reader, please do be watchful today.