|“Ever since the time of your forefathers |
you have turned away from my decrees and have
not kept them. Return to me, and I will return
to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
I have shared on this blog before that, to me, one of the most telling stories in all of Scripture is found in Luke 15:11-32. Editors of the New International Version have titled this “The Parable of the Lost Son.” Most of you probably know this story of Jesus quite well.
A younger brother chaffs at having to stay at home and help his father and older brother. He asks his father for his inheritance—a great insult in a Jewish household, since all of the inheritance would typically go to the oldest son. The father grants this request. The son promptly goes away to a far country and squanders the money. Ending up feeding pigs, the runaway son realizes he has sinned. He repents, determines to return to his father, and plans to offer to live as a servant.
Meanwhile, every day since the son left home, the father has gone to a lookout point that faces the road on which his son left home. There, he scans the horizon, looking for a sight of his returning son.
After months and months, one day the father sees his son in the far distance. While the son was still a long way off, the father rushes to greet the son and welcomes him home. The son acknowledges his sin and asks for forgiveness. The father responds by forgiving his son, treats him like royalty, and hosts a banquet to honor his son.
That story, told by Jesus to his followers, is exactly how God relates to you and me. He lovingly stands on a hilltop, watching to see if we will return to Him. He calls us to repent of our sin and come back into His protective fold.
The Prophet Malachi put it this way in Malachi 3:7:
“Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
This is a call for revival. It’s a call to come to life again. It’s a call of returning. It’s a call for you, and for me, to daily repent of our sins and return to God with hearts cleansed by the blood of Christ our Savior.
If you have someone in your life who has strayed far from God, why not spend some time today praying for that one. Ask God to speak into the depths of that one’s heart and mind and call that one to come home.
No greater joy exists for God, and for us, when one of His own returns to Him. May this be a day of that happening for someone we know and love.