The Provision for Christian Emergencies
Matthew 25:4
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Some think that torches of tow, steeped in oil, and fastened to the end of sticks, may be meant. Wetstein quotes the following from Rabbi Solomo: "It was the custom in the land of Ishmael to bring the bride from the house of her father to that of her husband in the night time; and there were about tea staffs; upon the top of each was a brazen dish, containing rags, oil, and pitch, and this being kindled formed blazing torches, which were carried before the bride." The lights were intended to make brightness and joyousness for the marriage procession, and the possession of a lighted lamp was a sort of guarantee, a sort of ticket, of admission to the feast. Oil from the store vessel poured into the dish would revive the flame when the cry of the "bridegroom coming" was heard. "Oil in the vessel" was the virgins' provision against all contingency. Whatever happened, with oil in the vessel with the lamp they could keep the light alive. The foolish virgins went carelessly on their journey, satisfied with this - their lamps were burning, and not troubling themselves to think how long they would burn, and what they would do when the flame began to flicker. It is not enough to have oil in the lamp.

I. THE "OIL OF DIVINE GRACE" IS THE PROVISION WE NEED. That figure of speech gathers up several things.

1. A personal experience of dealing with God.

2. Cultivated habits of communion with God.

3. A cherished sense of dependence on God.

4. Well-established views of Divine truth.

5. Gathered stores of Divine promises and comfortings.

All such things at belong to the personal and private life of godliness. But this is only the one side. There is another and even more important side. The "oil of grace" really represents the indwelling Spirit, who is ready to inspire us to every good word and work. That Spirit is wish all who are in earnest and. dependent. When his grace seems exhausted, he "giveth more grace," and so our lamp is ever supplied, and the light ever kept brightly burning.

II. THE "OIL OF GRACE" CAN BE OBTAINED. In times of emergency we can use means - attend services, etc., and in a way, buy and obtain. The difficulty is that we cannot often get the grace in time for the emergency.

III. THE "OIL OF GRACE" SHOULD BE A CONSTANT POSSESSION; a store ever being replenished. See Zechariah's figure of the living olive branches ever dropping fresh oil into the bowl. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

WEB: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Signs of Wisdom and of Folly in the Christian Life
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