The Holy God Requires Holy People

The Holy God Requires Holy People

Exodus 22-23

These two chapters continue to outline the sort of life God looked for in those whom he had taken to be his own both as a community and as individuals within that community. They were to be holy as He is holy.

As God’s New Covenant People we have the privilege and responsibility of seeking to represent His character in all our dealings. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22ff) is the life that honours God in His sanctity and sovereignty.

 

The Prodigal Father and Son

Luke 15:11-32

This parable and that of the Good Samaritan are probably the best known and most loved of all Jesus’ parables.

If “prodigal” can be used to express lavish generosity as well as the actions of a wastrel the above title may not be far off the mark.

An untold number of sermons and reflections have been based on this passage. However profound or prolix they may have been, at least three things deserve careful and reverent thought.

First is the mean, self-interested, and thoughtless departure of the younger son. It is Jesus’ depiction of many of his own day and also of our current day attitudes and actions in respect to God.

Then, in astonishing contrast, there is the monumental generosity and concern of the injured father. This is Jesus’ portrayal of his God and Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Last of all, there is the obstinate and resentful older son. Perhaps, at the time, a representation of those Israelites and particularly those leaders who would not accept his invitation to God’s great Messianic Banquet. Today, it speaks of the self-imposed isolation of those who will not “come to the banquet”.

Like the two parables in yesterday’s reading, we can see here both the heart of God and the wonderful welcome that awaits those who will return to the waiting Father. It also stands as an encouragement for each of us to encourage every “younger” and “older brother” to re-consider their position.

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One thought on “The Holy God Requires Holy People

  1. Thanks Harry. I am a ‘rules’ person.(Often to the amusement of my loved ones and friends.) I believe (with some reservations of course. God always has to come first.) that if everybody followed ‘the rules’ life would go far more smoothly. So it makes a lot of sense to me that God would give his people rules to live by. He gave them a system to live by. As Harry said ‘They were to be holy as He is holy,’ and these rules were made to keep them holy, but the rules God gave his people, also set up a structure which would also make life easier for them in a practical sense.

    As a younger person I always felt really sorry for the elder brother of the prodigal son. The young son ‘broke the rules’ but he was given the big celebration. The older son ‘followed all the rules’ and didn’t get anything. It just didn’t seem fair. But as I have grown older, and have my own children, I understand this story far better. How wonderful to welcome back a child who seemed lost even if they had caused hurt.(Continuing to study God’s word over the years would help make a difference in my understanding also.)

    I also know my daughters (who are grown up and wonderful) well enough to know that if either of them went along the wrong path the other would welcome them back with love and excitement. Neither of them would be like the elder brother. To me he now seems dour and unforgiving.

    As Harry writes, this parable displays ‘ the monumental generosity and concern of the injured father. This is Jesus’ portrayal of his God and Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,’ and how lucky we are to have a God like this because how often do we hurt Him?

    God gives us a way to live, through his word the Bible. But when we go astray He is always there to welcome us back. We must follow his example with not only our Christian brothers and sisters but brothers and sisters in humanity.

    Lindy Pegler

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