“Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf... Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”Luke 15:22-24
The children of Israel repeatedly sinned against God and rejected His authority over them. They did so in the desert, immediately after He delivered them from Egypt. They did so in the times of the judges and under the wicked kings. God sent prophets like Ezekiel to warn them, and when they didn’t listen, He sent hardships to discipline them and bring them back. In Ezekiel’s time, the ultimate judgment was exile from the Promised Land. Still, even then there was the promise of restoration.
We often reject the Lord’s authority and claim over us, too. The Israelites look so stubborn and willful to us. But we’re hardly different. The amazing thing about God’s love is that He continually and repeatedly welcomes His children back when they repent.
We may also experience periods of suffering and discipline and may feel completely rejected or cut off from God. That is not His intent. Once we “come to our senses,” He accepts us with the joy and delight of the Prodigal Son’s father (Luke 15), restoring what was lost.
“The result of the law of my God is perfect. It condemns but forgives. It restores—more than abundantly—what it takes away.” (Jim Elliot, 1978)