Open Arms

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Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, May 3, 2016

 

Today’s Scripture Focus: Luke 15:11-24

sin recovery planWe are focusing on sin recovery principle number two of 12: “We believe that only God’s power can restore us to sanity. His power is infinitely greater than our own.”

It was probably an ordinary day. A fairly wealthy man with at least two children is depicted. Perhaps the sun was shining and the birds were singing as usual. Many of the details are left out of the Bible record, but just maybe the distinguished gentleman was planning his day and having a meeting with his foreman about how to accomplish various tasks by the close of business, and then his son comes in. I can imagine the boss, let’s call him Joshua, excusing his foreman, Gabriel, and his son sits down. Joshua probably asked his youngest son, Ruel, what was on his mind. He was obviously in deep thought. It was at this point when Ruel blew up. He went on a tirade about how Joshua’s house was too restrictive. It was too difficult even to breathe, let alone have fun and enjoy life. Before Joshua could even respond, Ruel almost demanded that he be given his inheritance even though his dad was still alive. Eventually, as the conversation ended, Joshua gave Ruel and his elder brother their inheritance.

This was the best day of Ruel’s life, or so he thought. Finally, he would be able to live as he pleased and nobody would have anything to say. We do not know how long it took, but the Bible says that at some point while the prodigal son was on his own, his riotous living caught up to him. He squandered all that he demanded of his father and now, in grief, he joined himself with someone who kept pigs. Mr. Pigkeeper gave Ruel a job feeding the pigs. To a Jew, which the boy probably was, it was beyond offensive to have anything to do with pigs. Not only was Ruel associated with pigs, but also he was seriously considering eating the husks he fed them.

And when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19). Ruel was willing to swallow his arrogance and return to his father’s house. He realized that living even as his father’s servants did would have been better than the way he was living.

As he started toward his former home, he probably contemplated how angry his dad would be. He was preparing his mind so he could bow before him and beg, not to be reinstated, but live as a mere servant. As he got closer, his head hung down and heart beating faster than usual, Joshua sees him coming. It seemed as though Joshua himself never went into the house the entire time Ruel was gone. “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. (Luke 15:20-24).

Even though the Bible does not record the names I used here and some of the context items were added for effect, Christ’s pure parable depicts a beautiful, heavenly truth. It reveals the love of God even for those who were once abiding in the house with Him yet found themselves associated with the pigpens of this world. There are those who, after receiving the blessed gift of eternal life and a place with God in the kingdom of His dear son, decide for any number of reasons that they no longer want to walk with Him. It could be that their prayers were not answered in quite the way they expected. Perhaps the sacrifice of worldly interests was too great. Maybe the holy life is not exactly what they bargained for. Whatever the cause, many turn back.

Yet, if by a miracle of grace we hear God calling us back into right relationship with Him, He is waiting with open arms to receive us. He loves us more than I can express. His power to restore us is far greater than any of our futile attempts to dust our own lives off and make ourselves presentable to Him. If you have wandered away, now is the time to answer your Father’s call to come home.

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