Why Doesn’t God Just Come and Fix the World?

February 6th 2024



Why Doesn’t God Just Come and Fix the World?

Introduction

The question posed is often the source of angst, sinful anger, and distrust toward God, incited by the deceitful instruction of all God-haters in this present world. It is, however, an important question to ask and to answer, understanding that God has provided for us a clear and understandable explanation, which showcases his heart of patient love for his people.

Recently I had the opportunity to preach on a familiar parable. Parables are stories that express general axiomatic principles through situational dilemmas and cultural ethics. Though parables can be helpful, they are like a secret code without a cipher if the meaning of the parable is hidden by the one who is teaching. It is important to understand this, knowing that the true heart of Jesus, and the nature of the coming kingdom was veiled from the masses and kept only for his truest of disciples. Jesus would teach parables in public, only revealing the true meaning to his disciples in a later private setting.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus encountered rejection and scorn from the national religious leadership of Israel, effectively dismissing his divinity, his ministry, and insulting the power of the Holy Spirit, attributing it to the work of Satan. Because they were the leadership representing the predominant religious thought of the day, this rejection of the Messiah (despite overwhelming prophetic evidence that Jesus was indeed the Christ) resulted in Jesus veiling his teaching in the form of parables. These veiled stories, we are told, is a judgment against their actions. Matthew 13:10–11 says, “Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ And he answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

With that context, I want to share with you something significant that I learned from the parable of the wheat and the tares found in Matthew 13.

The Setting of the Parable

Parables require a setting. Like any good story or fairytale, the setting chosen gives the deeper truth a place to flourish. The setting of this parable takes place in a field, and that field has both an owner and an enemy. The owner sets forth to sow the field with good seed, whilst the enemy, under the cover of darkness (always the cover under which sin flourishes), sows the field with noxious weeds intended at choking out and destroying the good seeds of wheat.

We find ourselves with Jesus having painted this scene, wondering what will happen. The field workers seem anxious and eager to uproot the weeds for the sake of the good wheat, and yet the master of the field seems to have a different intent, setting the stage for the master to share his heart and intentions for this field of wheat, to which he is deeply committed to grow to maturity.

The Substance of the Parable

When Jesus set the stage for this common enough, and yet eternally significant story, he established several things for us to know. First, the field is owned by a master. This master employed members of his household to tend the field and care for its growth. Second, these household members did not understand the full plan of the master, nor did they recognize the extent of the evil that was perpetrated onto this field by the master’s enemy. And third, this enemy sought to destroy, by any means necessary, the value of the crop in this field.

As the servants begin to question the master about his actions, they ask him in verse 27, “did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?” In verse 28 the master replied, “An enemy has done this.”

At this point, a contrast of actions and will is established as the servants seek to uproot the weeds immediately for the sake of the wheat, but the master halts their plan. His attention immediately goes to the well-being of the wheat crop! He says to the servants, after they ask him if they should go uproot the weeds, “No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them into bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn” (v. 29–30).

With this substantial setting, the story has been told. The moral has been expressed, and yet the crowd is left wondering what the true intention of the parable would be. You would think that Jesus would clarify! Instead, he exits the small boat from which he was teaching, surrounded by a massive crowd along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and he retreats with his disciples to the refuge of Peter’s house in Capernaum.

The Symbolism of the Parable

When he had sat down with his disciples in private, he began to illuminate for them the deeper meaning of the parables he had taught along the shore to the crowds earlier that day. Keeping in mind that he had already expressed to them the reason he was teaching in a veiled format, he now began to reveal to them the secrets of the kingdom that were built into this simple and yet eternally significant illustration.

He begins to unmask the meaning of each of the symbols as we continue to read down to Matthew 13:36–43. The Master is God. The field is the world. The good wheat are God’s people, the sons of the kingdom, as they are called. The weeds are those belonging to the devil, the enemy who sowed them. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels carrying out God’s will.

Each of the pieces of the story are shown to have a deeper meaning. A simple agrarian setting, common enough in the land with a common enough outcome has proven to represent a picture of cosmic proportions and eternal consequence. Jesus continues to outline what would happen to the weeds that were sown and to the good wheat in the remaining verses of this explanation. The weeds would be gathered, at the harvest, by the angels, and bound up and burned. The good wheat would be gathered together and taken into the master’s barn.

The Significance of the Parable

Here’s where we need to understand the significance of this story, and answer the question posed in the title of this article. Why doesn’t God just come and fix the world? I mean, we all see the destruction caused by evil, the pain of suffering, and the injustice of sin, do we not!?

This is a question that many of us have wrestled with. In philosophy, we call this Theodicy, or the study of the problem of evil, in light of God’s holiness and omnipotence (his all-powerful nature). I mean, is God incapable of fixing the evil? If so, then he isn’t all-powerful, right? If he is all-powerful, but allows evil, then he couldn’t possibly be all-good and holy, right?

Herein lies the logical fallacy at the heart of these arguments, and in this parable lies the answer! To ask these questions, devoid of God’s heart for the good of his people, is to miss the entire point. To ask without the foundational truth, that whatever it is that God is doing is the ultimate good, according to his definition and practice, subjugates our understanding to his. Truthfully, though, the heart of our heavenly Father is revealed in this parable, and the answer is so simple, yet so profound, it should drive us to our knees in worship and in trust of his sovereign and loving plan.

You see, in this world, this harvest, the wheat is still growing. The seeds are still germinating, and the harvest is not yet complete. In terms of parables, this means that people are still being born, sinners are still being saved, and souls are continually being regenerated, saved, and transformed into God’s people! Every parable has its limits as far as illustrations go. Weeds don’t turn into wheat. However, God’s intervention can change people’s natures by breathing into them new spiritual life, effectively altering their spiritual DNA. Spiritual weeds can and do become spiritual wheat!

God’s tarrying, seemingly for ages, watching the evil of this world unfold, does not make him culpable for the evil perpetrated by men, nor incapable of solving it. James 1:13–15 makes it clear that sin and evil are not thrust into our way by God, but rather are fruits of the human heart, sown in evil and stoked by the dark spiritual forces of this world. Matthew 13 makes it clear that God’s heart is not to bring about a swift end to evil, because despite what we see around us, the harvest of God’s righteous elect is not yet complete. Romans 11:25 expresses that God’s plan will continue until, “The fullness of gentiles has come in.” That is, until the elect from all the nations are added to God’s kingdom, he will hold back the reapers because the harvest is not yet ripe.

Christian, be encouraged by 2 Peter 3:15, which says, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation…” Peter is encouraging the church to live holy, righteous lives, aligning our hearts with God’s heart, exercising endurance and patience in this evil world for the sake of all of God’s chosen people, who have yet to come to faith!

Conclusion

A relatively simple, boring, and seemingly insignificant agrarian parable, explained by Jesus to his disciples, has answered a cosmic question of enormous significance. Why doesn’t God just come and fix the world? Because the harvest of God’s righteous elect has not yet come to full fruition. Imagine if all Christians for all time begged God to come fix the world, and yet you, Christian, had not yet bowed the knee to Christ in repentance and faith! If God followed man’s wishes, you would die in your sins. Instead, his patience saw fit to wait for the exact right moment for you to come to faith.

In the same manner, aligning our hearts to God’s heart and knowing his intent, we must count the patience of God as salvation for those who are his. These precious souls, who, in the proper course of the progress of redemptive history, will come to faith and be gathered into the righteous harvest of God’s people. When seen in that light, the answer to this question becomes not only plain, but a source of hope and worship of God for his grace, mercy, and sovereign plan of love that, through the darkness, is on display through our lives for the whole world to see.

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Author: Kyle Swanson

Kyle Swanson earned a Master of Divinity from The Master’s Seminary followed by a Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves as Pastor & Elder on staff at Redeemer Bible Church. Pastor Kyle's roles involve overseeing classroom training, missions, conferences, and various other ministry responsibilities. Kyle and his wife Jackie have one child, a daughter named Lucy. Together they enjoy good food, good movies, their dog Darby, and traveling together to new places.