Wisdom of Solomon 12:13-19
One of our Old Testament Scripture readings for this week is from The Wisdom of Solomon, a book which is not printed in all Bibles. Back in the 1500s, Martin Luther and some of the other Protestant Reformers decided that certain books of the Old Testament, including The Wisdom of Solomon, were less important than the others. When they published Bibles, instead of including these books, they set them aside in a separate collection which is called The Apocrypha. Nevertheless, some Bibles to this day still include The Wisdom of Solomon and the rest of these books. This week, I am publishing this text in case your Bible does not include it. Please look it over. I find it very worship-inducing and thought-provoking, and I hope you do, too.
Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 12
13 For neither is there any god besides You, whose care is for all people,
to whom You should prove that You have not judged unjustly,
14 nor can any king or monarch confront You about those whom You have punished.
15 You are righteous and You rule all things righteously,
deeming it alien to Your power to condemn anyone who does not deserve to be punished.
16 For Your strength is the source of righteousness,
and Your sovereignty over all causes You to spare all.
17 For You show Your strength when people doubt the completeness of Your power,
and You rebuke any insolence among those who know it.
18 Although You are sovereign in strength, You judge with mildness,
and with great forbearance You govern us;
for You have power to act whenever You choose.
19 Through such works You have taught Your people that the righteous must be kind,
and You have filled Your children with good hope, because You give repentance for sins.
† † †
Our gospel lesson for this coming Sunday is Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds. In his teachings, Jesus used many colorful comparisons, metaphors, and illustrations. The first example of this that I find in Matthew is “Follow me and I will make you fish for people” (4:19).
The parable of the wheat and the weeds is the first one in Matthew’s gospel that addresses his great concern with the end of the age (13:40) and the son of man judging the wicked and the righteous. Matthew will return to these themes again and again. Check it out and see.
In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, it seems to me that a lot of readers of the New Testament imagine that Jesus is talking about ‘other people,’ ‘bad people’ when he says, “The son of man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:41-42)
On the flip-side, I imagine a lot of folks who read the New Testament picture themselves when Jesus says, “Then the righteous will shine like the
sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (verse 43)
If you tend to divide up the world that way, beware. Remember that Jesus had already told the crowds, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye ?” (Matthew 7:1-3) Jesus, a.k.a. the son of man, will judge everyone in due time.
Rather, while we have this bodily life, God is calling each of us to repent and trust in His good news of grace offered to all people. The best we can do is to cooperate with God as if we were truly God’s beloved children— and everybody else may be God’s beloved children as well ! It’s not up to us.
But maybe we can help Jesus “fish” for them.
Whenever comes the end of the age, we will agree:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God…. Romans 8:18-19