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Given Up For Dead…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 15:11-32 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Squire):

Earlier in chapter 15, we saw that the Pharisees (who were devoutly religious) were grumbling that Jesus liked to spend his time with “sinners.” This story Jesus tells of the Lost Son tells us a lot about what God thinks of the less-than-holy.

Following are a few observations that I hope can serve as a catalyst for thoughts about the character of God and our relationship with God.  Today, we’ll focus on the son, who can represent any of us who have ever felt far from God, and tomorrow, we’ll look at the father, who represents God.

  • The grass is always greener. It’s a typically “teenager-y” thing to do — chafing against a parent’s rule, no matter how benign and munificent — but I don’t know how many times I’ve caught myself thinking that somewhere else would be better than here.  And the “here” can be a lot of things — location, sure, but also jobs, spouses, friends, churches, you name it.
  • God doesn’t owe me anything. The son didn’t deserve to receive his inheritance while the father was still around, but he must have thought he deserved it. As Matthew Henry’s commentary says, “It is bad, and the beginning of worse, when men look upon God’s gifts as debts due to them.”
  • Even the “good times” don’t sound so great. The son had “friends” as long as the money held out.  Just like the pig pen took a toll on his body, this arrangement would take a toll on the soul.
  • Hunger is a great motivator. It took debilitating hunger for the son to see how far he’d sunk.  What part of my life makes me feel like I’m starving?  Could that hunger be a sign I need to give attention to?

So what keeps me and you from making the changes we need to make — getting up out of our own private pig pens, as it were?  I think it’s usually fear, either fear of what God may require, or just general fear of the unknown.  As we’ll see tomorrow, the Father’s reaction may not be what we expect, and our fears are unfounded.

Thought for the day: God, show me where I’ve strayed. Help me to learn from the story of the Lost Son, so I can stay close to you.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading.  If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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