Luke 15:20-24 “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”
I do not believe I shall ever tire of this account in the Bible. The richness of the love the father had for both his boys. The depth of forgiveness, compassion and restoration displayed. My heart is stirred at every reading.
You might say the telling grows richer as I have become a father; a grandfather and have had to deal with situations of my children’s growth and somewhat departure from what I may have wanted for them; allowing them to find their own way. There are certain elements of this account that are blatantly a picture of God, the Father; His desire for forgiveness and restoration above justice or discipline.
I love the teaching moment with the elder son.
Luke 15:31-32 “And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
I highlighted the two things the father wanted his son to know: thou art ever with me and all that I have is thine. In prayer today, I acknowledged just how much my Father has revealed Himself to me. I have grown in wisdom – His; given to me, not my own. I have grown in love – compassion for people I once hated, shunned or even criticised or gossiped about.
He has shown me parts of myself I was unable or unwilling to deal with. My anger. My lying. My covetousness. In the song ‘Amazing Grace’ there is a line that says:
“He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”
Even now, dear reader, tears well up in my eyes because of that very truth. I know what I am. I know all too well just what kind of sinner God got when He got me. So often, we get far too busy to remind ourselves just who we were before we got saved. How sinful. How wicked, vile and worthy of a Christless Hell.
We’ve lost the view of sin as exceedingly sinful. We’ve lost the view that:
Romans 14:23 “… for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Words like ‘abhorrence’ or ‘abominable’ have lost their bite to our soul regarding God’s perspective on sin. That, my friend is a whole other thought! But today, the text God gave brought a fresh perspective of God.
I think we can agree that God is not bound by time. We, on the other hand, are far more familiar with the element of time than we are with the concept of eternity. Boundless, endless, infinite time – past and future. Both go on forever. In our present, we struggle. We’re tempted and tried in this present life; carrying all our experiences with us.
Just think for a moment:
God loves you.
That love is eternal. That love is unconditional. It never diminishes with our failures or grows with our successes. That love was already there before you and I were born and will continue thousands of millenium into our ‘time’ with Him in Heaven.
We see our present – God sees my whole life lived out and complete. I deal with situation and circumstance, worry, pain and depression. He sees me more than conqueror; already seated in the heavens.
The constancy of such a love is beyond my mortal comprehension. I have preferences, prejudices and opinions that cloud my view of others and of God. God looks at you and me with eyes that have already seen the end of time as we know it to be.
To be able to rid myself of my views and see only as God sees; love as God loves; do as He would if He were here on this earth is truly impossible in the flesh. Yet, we can take comfort that our God gave us a way:
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”
God speaks through Paul to tell us just how to live this life. Dead to myself but alive unto Him. Many feel they will lose ‘their’ identity if they become crucified as God asks us. We forget that as a saved, child of God, I am not my own any more. I am the purchased possession of Almighty God.
When I understand that God looks at me through eyes that have already seen the end, I can more easily grasp the concept of an Almighty, eternal God’s love for me and His desire to be with Him in Heaven forever.
The prodigal’s father waited patiently for his return because of what awaited him after he came back. The father had the feast prepared. The robe was pressed and ready. The ring was set aside. Forgiveness had already been applied and now all that was needed was the return of the son.
God so longs for each of us to live in His presence. Whatever it is today that keeps you from it, makes a holy Father jealous.
Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”