July 19

Text: Matthew 22:3-7

"And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.  Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."'  But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.  But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. (NASB)

Two things immediately stand out.  (1) The king was incredibly gracious.  He told the guests in advance when the feast would occur—the day of the feast was no surprise.  Also, there were reminders on the day of the feast.

(2) The invited had no respect for the king.  Some paid no attention to the king’s invitation, but cared for their own affairs as if there were no invitation.  Some killed the king’s slaves who brought a reminder.

All the first invitees terribly underestimated the king.  They took his gracious consideration to be weakness.  They were convinced that their disrespect would produce no consequences.  They mistook the king’s kindness for insignificance.

Their disrespect brought horrible consequences.  An enraged king took military action.  The murderers were killed. The city was burned.  Disrespect and injustice produced violence and loss.

One is amazed with God’s patience in Old Testament scripture.  His high expectations of the nation of Israel were repeatedly dashed.  Through repeated messages from numerous prophets, God urged the people to repent.  Finally, they passed the point of no return.  To Josiah God said in 2 Kings 22:20, "Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil which I will bring on this place."  To Jeremiah God said in Jeremiah 11:14, "Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster.”

Never interpret God’s loving patience to be weakness!

Suggestion for reflection: How can people see repentance as divine weakness?  (Read Jeremiah 7:1-11.)

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