Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t just take away the evil from the world? One of the arguments offered against God is that bad things happen. The argument goes something like this: if God is all-knowing, then he would know when bad things were about to happen. If he knows this, then he should do something to prevent the evil from taking place. If not, then there is something wrong with God. Rarely do people realise that in reality there is something wrong with their thoughts.
Jesus explained at least part of this in one of his parables. “The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ He said, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the slaves replied, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30 NET)
The explanation of this parable is in verses 36-43. The field in the story represents the world while the farmer who planted the good seed is Jesus, the Son of Man. The good seed are Christians, the people of the kingdom. The enemy is the devil and the weeds are the people of the evil one – in other words, those who are not Christians, those who are not following Jesus. Why not go in and pull up the weeds? The problem is that you would end up uprooting the wheat, as well.
The weeds that were planted by the devil present two problems. The weed is identified as “darne” in the original Greek. Darnel is a weed that looked like wheat but has poisonous seeds. Just by looking, it would be difficult to tell the difference between the wheat and weeds – they looked identical.
There was also a second problem – the roots of the darnel would be entangled with roots of the wheat. If you pulled up one, the other would be pulled up, as well.
For these reasons, Jesus said to leave both in the ground and to let them grow together until the harvest – at that point the two can be separated so that the wheat can be gathered into the barn and the weeds could be gathered together and burned. Jesus said that the harvest is the end of the age when the angels will gather everything that causes sin, as well as all lawbreakers, and they will be thrown into the fiery furnace.
There is one more thing we should think about: which of us has not been guilty of sin? When we wish God would remove all sinners from the world, which of us are exempt? As Paul put it, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). What we often don’t realise is that if God was to remove all evil and sinners from the world before they committed their sin, none of us would be left because we have all sinned.
Rather than be concerned about God righting wrongs now, we should remember that God will right all wrongs on the day he has appointed, the Day of Judgement. We need to be ready for that day, that we will not be found to be darnel, but to be the wheat that Jesus planted. “The one who has ears had better listen!” (Matthew 13:43).
Readings for next week:
25 January – Matthew 14
26 January – Matthew 15
27 January – Matthew 16
28 January – Matthew 17
29 January – Matthew 18