Devotional: April 13, 2021
But you’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration. You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight.
Psalm 5: 11-12 The Message
These verses at the end of Psalm 5 paint a memorable picture for us. Earlier verses in this psalm talk about difficulties, and struggles with enemies. Yet here, the Lord is seen as a refuge.
King David is confident that the Lord will receive him with a giant hug. That is why he speaks of being welcomed “with open arms.”
Yet a hug is only the beginning. A party is thrown! One which lasts all night long!
The Psalm concludes by hinting that God, the ultimate party host, will include all who are “God-seekers”. This grouping includes the Psalmist himself.
It is hard to read these verses without thinking of the conclusion of Jesus’ great Parable of the Prodigal Son. In that famous story, the younger son has lost his inheritance. It had been given to him early by his gracious father. He had squandered it by living lavishly and sinfully. The son believes that he has so disgraced the family’s name that he will be disowned forever.
In hopes of securing a lowly servant’s job, he goes back home. His father could have used Psalm 5 as a template for his gracious reception of his lost son. First, there is the welcome “with open arms.” Next, the fatted calf is killed, and a great feast commences. It is a party for the ages, and will go through the night, and perhaps for many days. In Jesus’ parable, the bedraggled son is given sandals for his bare feet, a signet ring for his finger (with the power and authority signified by its presence), and the very best robe.
The point of both Psalm 5 and Jesus' great parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), is that God welcomes sinners back home. Hear once again the ending to Jesus’ parable…
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a prize-winning heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
Luke 15: 20-24 The Message
The beauty of this message is that no matter what, everyone is always offered another opportunity to celebrate with the Lord. The Lord is not a “one and done” Lord. No! He is the Lord of forgiveness. We can never do anything for which He will not forgive us. All we must do to receive it is to humble ourselves, confess our sin, and ask for His almighty forgiveness. Then, let the celebration begin!
Lord, I am so thankful that You are the Lord of forgiveness and meaningful fellowship. Forgive me when I leave You out of my plans, and think I don’t need You in my life. Please protect me and guide me, so that my steps are in sync with Yours. Continually teach me how to show that same respect, love and forgiveness to others. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.