[Luke 14:1-24] It is not an easy thing to invite Jesus into your house. He was invited into the house of a leading Pharisee to break bread, and He began His visit by addressing one of the tenets of their doctrine (verses 2-6) thereby provoking His host (and other Pharisees) . He addressed the inordinate conduct of other guests, despite being just a guest Himself (verses 7-11). He similarly had words of admonition for His host (verses 12-24). When Jesus shows up in your home or life He will positively intrude it. He cannot be reduced to a particular agenda or order of ceremony. His works and their effects can cost you the roof of your house (Mark 2: 4).
“Whoever exalts himself will be humiliated, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
In Jesus’ instruction to the host on types of guests to invite (verses 12-14), He made it clear that there is no eternal reward/blessing in inviting those capable of reciprocating. The annoyance of the dinner host in Jesus’ parable can best be understood by appreciating the Jewish ceremonial culture that involves elaborate preparations, advance invitations and acknowledgements. God will always have room for more people – even you, regardless of your condition, hopelessness or reality (Verse 21-22).
Four snapshots of this message
As we look into the four pictures embedded in this message, we ought to note the following:
- That all things are ready does not mean you are hungry.
- That all things are ready does not mean you are ready.
- That you are prepared does not mean you are ready (Luke 1: 17).
First snapshot: The first family (Mr. & Mrs. Adam)
In Psalm 8, the psalmist observed that God’s interest in Man is so engrossing that it became a thing of wonder, even to angels. God created everything on Earth and handed it over to Man to manage; Adam had dominion over everything. All things were made ready before the first family was created. God even gave them a garden in the midst of the earth as their perfect residence (Genesis 2:8-17). However, the story of the fall of man shows that neither Adam nor Eve appreciated the value of what God had prepared and given to them. Having given them everything He prepared, God attached only one condition; He forbade them from eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This tree typifies your tithe, because it is not meant for our consumption. Unfortunately, Man seems unsatisfied with what he has, and must seek to taste the forbidden (Genesis 3: 1-7). Everything was prepared for Adam and Eve, but they were not ready. Eventually, God drove them away from the garden to toil and labour for whatever they would get. This is the end of people who are not ready to live within boundaries and apply restraint in life.
Points to ponder:
- How many golden opportunities have you squandered while focusing on ONE thing you lack, forgetting all those things freely given to you by God?
- Ingrates can never be great. They will always have something to complain about.
- Ingratitude is a deadly sin.
“Blessings are never valued until they are gone.”
Second snapshot: The first king of Israel (Saul)
Saul was an epitome of affluence, opulence and correctness – from a mighty and wealthy home, he was the tallest in Israel, and became a beneficiary of royalty he never looked or worked for. Prior to his meeting Samuel, the prophet was already expecting him, and had prepared a banquet in his honour (1Sam 9:22-24). God Himself had orchestrated the missing of Kish’s donkeys so that Kish might send his son on a mission of his destiny. Samuel did not contribute to God’s decision to make Saul king, neither was it his idea to prepare the banquet in his honour. However, a man of honour that does not appreciate it will perish like the beasts of the field (Psalm 49:12-13).
Saul was looking for donkeys, but God gave him the kingdom of Israel. In the first snapshot, Adam did not appreciate the value of what God gave him; but in Saul’s case, he did not appreciate the enormity of the provision God made to enthrone him. When the Israelites rejected God as their King, He prepared the position for Saul to take His place and rule on His behalf. Yet, once he learnt that God had chosen another who was better than him, he sought to have God’s chosen one (David) killed. In Saul’s forty years of kingship, he spent the greater part fomenting civil war in Israel by haunting David with murderous intent.
“God knows what you cannot handle.”
Third snapshot: Queen Vashti of the Persian-Median Empire
[Esther 1:1] Ahasuerus had spent six months showcasing his glory to his subjects and guests. At the end of it all, he held a feast lasting a whole week. On the last day of the feast, it pleased the king to showcase “the epitome” and crowning glory of his majesty – his wife, Queen Vashti, in her royal beauty and glory. He obviously took pride in her. Vashti was not just any woman, and the elaborate and labourious beautification process and preparation Esther and other women went through in order to replace Vashti (Esther 2: 12) was evidence of how she must have been prepared for her role as queen. In parallel with the seven spirits of God (Revelation 1:4; 4:5; 5:6), which are sent out from the presence of God to prepare the Church for Christ, the seven eunuchs were sent by Ahasuerus to prepare and make Vashti ready to appear before him. In the fashion of Vashti, some in the Church would neglect the calling of God because they are too busy with irrelevancies. Anointing is NOT for show; God does not endow you for the fun of it.
Vashti was in the palace, but had forgotten that the only reason she was there was to serve the king as his wife. She was obsessed with other endeavors, much like many Christians do these days. Regardless of whatever may have happened behind the scene between Vashti and Ahasuerus, it should not have spilled into her role as queen. Her subsequent banishment from the king’s presence and replacement were not acts of pride or chauvinism, but acts of statehood and maintaining national standards against rebellion. Vashti did not see her role beyond the king’s palace, and the importance of her position as an example and model for all women in the kingdom.
“When your husband stops being king in your life, you will stop being queen.”
Fourth snapshot: Sizzling Love (Solomon and Shulamite Woman)
Can Sizzling Love turn into Fizzling Love?
Yes, it can. Passionate love can burn aglow, but can also burn out. The story of Queen Vashti should be a lesson in maintaining a sizzling relationship. In Song of Solomon 1:1-4, the Shulamite woman made advances to Solomon (verses 1-4). Prior to this relationship, Solomon had other relationships but was not satisfied by any of them. She observed that like her, other chaste women were also attracted to him, but it was no reason for her to be insecure. When your spouse is not the wayward type, you will rest secure in the knowledge that they are naturally attractive.
“Smart girls know what they want. The other ones are subject to culture, until what they are looking for passes away.”
Fast-forward to Chapters 2&3, the relentless efforts and passion devoted to loving and wooing Solomon is detailed so that by Chapter 4 it became obvious to Solomon that this woman really cared for him. Solomon reciprocated, and declared his unreserved attraction for her, of how her love captivated him (Proverbs 5: 18-19). It must be noted clearly here that Solomon put this relationship in the right and God-ordained perspective of marriage, as he continually referred to the Shulamite as his sister and spouse/wife. This was passionate expression of sizzling love between a married couple.
In Song of Solomon 5:1-8 Solomon had prepared for holy matrimony and to spend the night with his wife, but she spurned his advance. He was denied the solace and satisfaction of her embrace. She forgot that the whole purpose of their love was to satisfy and fulfill each other. In Verse 8, she had become a woman begging other women to give up her man, who had left because his love was spurned. When sizzling love fizzles out, it is often difficult to redeem. Where it is redeemed, it is done with much pain and torturous anguish. Be careful not to take your spouse for granted, and to be alert to their emotional and physical needs, lest your sizzling relationship fizzles.
Points to ponder:
- You never miss the water until the well runs dry.
- Blessings are not valued till they are gone.
- You can be blessed and not know it.
- Only as you look back do you realize that what you have is much more important than all the things you do not have.
- Do not allow love that is sizzling to fizzle.
- Making a success of life and love is up to you.
“Happiness does not come from getting what you want. It only comes from appreciating what God has given you.”
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