Our Bible verse for today: “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take oil with them, but the wise ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps.” Matthew 25:1-4 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God created oil for us to use.”
In the parable told by Jesus in Matthew 25:1-13, the oil in the story was almost certainly olive oil. Although there were other types of vegetable oil being produced and used in those days, olive oil was the most common. It was used as a food, and for medicinal purposes, as a cosmetic, and for religious purposes. It was also used as a fuel and when burned it produced light. It was vegetable oil not petroleum oil. Although in those days vast oceans of petroleum oil certainly existed under the surface of the earth, it had not yet been discovered by mankind. (History seems to suggest that the Chinese did have access to petroleum by then, but it was probably found at surface level and its use was limited and primitive).
However, the point for us to see here is that the oil in use in Biblical days was a resource provided by God for the use of His people. It was a product of God’s creation and it had multiple uses that made life better for humans. Clearly God intended for His people to use it.
We know where vegetable oil comes from, it comes from plants which can be grown and therefore it is a renewable energy source. Petroleum oil is different. Petroleum is a “fossil” fuel and it comes from decomposed organic matter such as bodies, plankton, algae, and yes, perhaps even a few dinosaurs. The organic matter is trapped underground, compressed by enormous pressure, and eventually becomes oil. But the process takes so long that the source is considered non-renewable.
According to OPEC (The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the known oil reserves in the world today are 1.5 trillion barrels. Currently the world consumes about 34 billion barrels of oil a year. At that rate the current reserves will last about another 50 years. So, what does that mean with respect to God’s people using oil? Is it okay for us to use petroleum products or should we all be driving electric cars?
Well … my goodness, would you look at the time? I’ve got to go! We’re out of space in today’s devotional and we will have to continue this discussion tomorrow. Sorry. Lol. (Relax. I’m not one of those left-wing environmental extremists. The answer isn’t going to be as bad or as painful as you might think.)