The title to this piece seems like a silly question, right? But Jesus said,
“Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you — you of little faith?”
So, we need to ask again, “Does God throw wildflowers into a furnace?” I think it’s pretty safe to say that He doesn’t, right? Jesus is speaking allegorically here.
Jesus is saying in flowery terms that flowers are here today and gone tomorrow. They are beautiful, but only for a short time. No one reads this passage to mean that has a furnace where He throws all the wildflowers in the world. A wildflower furnace.
In the context of this little parable, Jesus is saying that wildflowers are magnificent in their splendor, though they last only a short time. The fact that God makes such temporary things as wildflowers beautiful in splendor is meant to give us hope and faith that He has much more splendor in store for us, the creatures He made in His own image!
These words give us great hope when life seems to be taking us down. No one interprets what Jesus says here as a lesson in the way God disposes of wildflowers. It’s a lesson about putting our faith in God.
Jesus spoke often in parables. A parable is defined in the Google dictionary as “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels”. That Jesus liked to use parables when he spoke to people is something of which we should take note.
Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15 ESV) and the “exact representation of his being”. (Heb. 1:3 NIV) Anyone who saw Jesus, saw what God looked like in human form. Anyone who heard Jesus, heard God speak in human words.
The fact that Jesus made liberal use of parables, which are a form of allegory (“a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one”) is noteworthy. Because Jesus used allegory so much, we should expect to find allegory elsewhere in the Bible- i.e., the Old Testament.
In fact, Jesus spoke almost entirely to the crowds in parables. (Matt. 13:34) We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to find God making use of allegorical language in the Old Testament.
Much as been written on the “days” (translated from the Hebrew word, yom) in Genesis. Hebrew has a relatively small number of words compared to English and other languages, so Hebrew words are counted on to mean multiple things. We have to discern their meaning from the context.
This practice is not unlike discerning the meaning of a parable or other allegory. If you took Jesus literally when he said God throws wildflowers into the furnace, you would end up with some odd theology and miss the mark about what he was really saying.
We do not have a theology, however, based on God throwing wildflowers into a furnace because we understand that Jesus didn’t mean for us to take him literally on that point.
The meaning of God’s word isn’t always immediately apparent. The apostles did not always understand what Jesus was saying. Sometimes Jesus explained it to them. (Matt. 13:18-23) Sometimes they didn’t understand until much later.
The apostles didn’t know when to take him literally and when he was being allegorical. Jesus talked often about the fact that he would have to die and be raised on the third day. At one point, Peter challenged Jesus about it, and Jesus rebuked him. (Matt. 16:21-23)
We are certainly no different than they. We need to pray and mediate on God’s word and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in understanding God’s word.