““If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.”
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 NKJV
In the advancing of my years, I am at the point where I have time and unction to reflect on my life. Inevitably, I think of all the bad things I have done, all the sins that have separated me from God and others, that without Jesus, would have sent me to hell.
But, when the reflections lead me into the dark place of the my innermost parts, I am reminded: I am forgiven.
This morning I spent more time in Deuteronomy, poring over chapter twenty one, and I found the laws concerning the unruly son. Back in those days, when a child was troubling, he could be taken before the elders. If he was found to be bad, he could be stoned to death.
For the sinner, we are by our nature, evil in the eyes of God. As sinners, the wages of our sin is death. We are bound for eternity in hell. But, our God is a gracious Lord, as He has provided a means of escape, as HIs Son has paid for our sin debt.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23 NKJV
As I read the passage this morning, I immediately thought the story of the lost son, or the prodigal. He had demanded his inheritance from his father, which was in itself a dishonor, for he was in effect wishing his father dead. He took his money and wasted it on wine, women and song.
He was as good as dead in the eyes of the law.
At the bottom of his life, everything gone, he chose to return. He had dishonored his father, and was taking a great risk on returning. He could be stoned to death.
“I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still 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 to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’”
Luke 15:18-21 NKJV
Before we come to know Jesus, we are prodigals, people separated from God by the sin of Adam, the original prodigal. Like Adam, God made a way for HIs creation to be reclaimed and saved, as He Himself, God the Son, went running into the gap to die on the cross for the sins of the world.
By Faith, we are forgiven. The prodigal willingly admitted he had sinned, was willing to confess his sins to his father, and accept whatever consequences that came.
His father ran to him.
Oh brothers and sisters, how the Father runs to us! He is waiting and He is patient! I suffered in the wilderness with my sins for twenty seven years, broken and wallowing with the swine. But He pursued me!
““But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here 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 15:22-24 NKJV
Let us go and tell the story of our own prodigal journey, of the love of the great Father, demonstrated by the Son, who loved us so much that He was willing to come between us and the stones, that we be saved, restored, and spend eternity with Him.
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