Paul assures his readers to day that there is “a method to God’s madness.” God has always had a purpose and plan in mind. He has stuck with it throughout history and will do so until the very end.
I have been struggling to come up with an analogy of what I feel I am seeing in this passage today. I think a wedding cake will do.
When you set out to make a wedding cake the first step is to decide what you want it to look like in the end. Do you want a tiered cake? How about a sheet cake? Maybe a cake with a fountain in it. Your desired outcome will direct your movements throughout the process. God made His decision before He spoke the first words of creation. He had in mind what His desired outcome was and considered the steps it would take to get there.
After choosing your design you need to gather supplies to begin the process. The quality of your materials will determine the final result of your endeavor. Cheap supplies result in a disappointing outcome. God put His whole heart into creation. He carefully selected the elements He wanted to incorporate and made sure they were “good.” He didn’t settle for second best as He worked on His new creation.
Next comes measuring, mixing and baking. Each step is important and each one must be done in the correct order for the final result to turn out properly. Adding the dry ingredients at the wrong time or jostling the cake while cooking can have disastrous results. But if you are committed to the outcome you will persevere even when issues arise. God began “measuring” and “mixing” His ingredients as He worked with man through the years. He had to correct for errors, like in the garden with Adam and Eve, and even restart the process, as with Noah and the flood. But He was determined and didn’t give up. He began “baking” His foundation pieces with Abraham and Isaac.
Once the individual cakes are done baking it is time to assemble them. Even during assembly though things can suddenly change and send you back to the beginning. Sometimes one cake breaks or doesn’t rise as high. God worked with His “cakes” for over 500 years. Removing pieces that didn’t work with the rest of the design, like the first generation of Israelites to leave Egypt, remolding a stubborn piece, as in sending Israel into captivity as a result of their rebellion, even incorporating outside elements into the design structure, such as including Rahab into Jesus’ lineage.
This previous stage is also where icing if initially introduced. Its first function is to hold the layers together. Then it covers the form to begin the decorative layering. The cake is beginning to take on the intended structural shape. Jesus is the “glue” that holds it all together. He is the bridge between the form and the full beauty. He is the foundation of the “decorations.”
As the craftsman begins applying the decorations layer by layer beauty begins to blossom. Care has to be taken when working with the icing/frosting to keep it at the right consistency, malleable but also hold its form. Jesus’ work on the cross started adding the Gentiles into His design. They were “mixed” to the right consistency using the perfect foundation and began being layered into the overall design.
Once all the individual cakes are completed it is time to assemble the final design. This is the final part of the process. Each part is carefully brought to the assembly place, maneuvered into place, and any finishing touches are added to complete the design. If all has been done well the finished product meets or exceeds the original design. God has not reached this final stage yet. This will happen in the end of time. He is currently still applying His artistic touches to His masterpiece. His final design WILL meet His original plan.
The thing about this wedding cake is that it is not complete if it is cake alone. It is also not complete if it is icing alone. Both parts are needed in the correct measure to create the beauty intended. God used both Jews and Gentiles in His creation. Both are essential to His final design and His plan wouldn’t be complete without one or the other.
The utter joy of watching the bride and groom cut into the cake after sharing their vows make it worth all the hard work needed in its creation. When God presents Jesus with His completed bride all His hard work will be worth it too. Every step He took to bring all of us together. Every pain He endured will be wiped away. Every struggle we faced will be quickly forgotten when we see the look of love on His face that first time.
Father God thank You for Your marvelous plan! Thank You that it includes me. Thank You that it brings all of us together at just the right time in just the right way. I’m looking forward to “cutting the cake” with Jesus at the marriage feast. Help me be patient and loving with my brothers and sisters as You assemble us into Your masterpiece.