Prodigal 180

 

‘Father, I have sinned.’ Luke 15:18 NIV

The prodigal son didn’t get into trouble until he left his dad’s house. Jesus pointed out four things about him:

(1) ‘He wasted his substance.’ Satan is a fraudster. If you heed his call to come out and play, you can end up losing the very substance of who you are and what God’s called you to be.

(2) ‘He went and joined himself to a citizen of that country.’ Want to know where you are spiritually? Look at who you hang out with and take advice from. Who do you call? Who calls you? Solomon writes, ‘If sinners entice you, do not give in to them.’ (Proverbs 1:10 NIV)

(3) ‘He began to be in want.’ Something’s wrong! At home he never missed a meal, now he’s so hungry he wants what pigs eat. (Think corn cobs, minus the corn niblets.) It’s like trying to meet a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. Are you doing that? David said, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.’ (Psalm 23:1 NAS) Who’s that promise for? Those who live in the safety of the sheepfold and stay close to the Shepherd.

(4) ‘He came to himself.’ When his elevator could not go any lower, he decided to get off. Mercifully, he still could. Some people get stuck at the bottom of the liftwell and can’t move.

The Bible says: ‘Today, [not tomorrow] if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ (Hebrews 3:15 NIV) It wasn’t too late for the prodigal—and it’s not too late for you. The moment he changed his prayer from ‘give me’ to ‘forgive me,’ His father opened His arms and welcomed him home. And God will do the same for you, if you let Him.

SoulFood: Deut 30:1–32:28, Mk 8:27–38, Ps 57, Prov 12:15–17

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Deuteronomy 30–32:28 (Listen)

30:1 “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the LORD your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the LORD and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

31:1 So Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not go over this Jordan.’ The LORD your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head, as the LORD has spoken. And the LORD will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. And the LORD will give them over to you, and you shall do to them according to the whole commandment that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

14 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the days approach when you must die. Call Joshua and present yourselves in the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” And Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves in the tent of meeting. 15 And the LORD appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud. And the pillar of cloud stood over the entrance of the tent.

16 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’ 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods.

19 “Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. 20 For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. 21 And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.” 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day and taught it to the people of Israel.

23 And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.”

24 When Moses had finished writing the words of this law in a book to the very end, 25 Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, 26 “Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against you. 27 For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD. How much more after my death! 28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will surely act corruptly and turn aside from the way that I have commanded you. And in the days to come evil will befall you, because you will do what is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger through the work of your hands.”

30 Then Moses spoke the words of this song until they were finished, in the ears of all the assembly of Israel:

32:1   “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
    and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
  May my teaching drop as the rain,
    my speech distill as the dew,
  like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
    and like showers upon the herb.
  For I will proclaim the name of the LORD;
    ascribe greatness to our God!
  “The Rock, his work is perfect,
    for all his ways are justice.
  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
    just and upright is he.
  They have dealt corruptly with him;
    they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
    they are a crooked and twisted generation.
  Do you thus repay the LORD,
    you foolish and senseless people?
  Is not he your father, who created you,
    who made you and established you?
  Remember the days of old;
    consider the years of many generations;
  ask your father, and he will show you,
    your elders, and they will tell you.
  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    when he divided mankind,
  he fixed the borders of the peoples
    according to the number of the sons of God.
  But the LORD's portion is his people,
    Jacob his allotted heritage.
10   “He found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
  he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11   Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
    that flutters over its young,
  spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,
12   the LORD alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.
13   He made him ride on the high places of the land,
    and he ate the produce of the field,
  and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
    and oil out of the flinty rock.
14   Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock,
    with fat of lambs,
  rams of Bashan and goats,
    with the very finest of the wheat—
    and you drank foaming wine made from the blood of the grape.
15   “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;
    you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
  then he forsook God who made him
    and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
16   They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods;
    with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17   They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
    to gods they had never known,
  to new gods that had come recently,
    whom your fathers had never dreaded.
18   You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,
    and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
19   “The LORD saw it and spurned them,
    because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.
20   And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them;
    I will see what their end will be,
  for they are a perverse generation,
    children in whom is no faithfulness.
21   They have made me jealous with what is no god;
    they have provoked me to anger with their idols.
  So I will make them jealous with those who are no people;
    I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
22   For a fire is kindled by my anger,
    and it burns to the depths of Sheol,
  devours the earth and its increase,
    and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23   “‘And I will heap disasters upon them;
    I will spend my arrows on them;
24   they shall be wasted with hunger,
    and devoured by plague
    and poisonous pestilence;
  I will send the teeth of beasts against them,
    with the venom of things that crawl in the dust.
25   Outdoors the sword shall bereave,
    and indoors terror,
  for young man and woman alike,
    the nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
26   I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces;
    I will wipe them from human memory,”
27   had I not feared provocation by the enemy,
    lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
  lest they should say, “Our hand is triumphant,
    it was not the LORD who did all this.”’
28   “For they are a nation void of counsel,
    and there is no understanding in them.

Mark 8:27–38 (Listen)

27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Psalm 57 (Listen)

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

57:1   Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
  in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
  I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
  He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
  God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
  My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
  the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.
  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
  They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
  They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
  My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
  I will sing and make melody!
    Awake, my glory!
  Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10   For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
11   Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

Proverbs 12:15–17 (Listen)

15   The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
    but a wise man listens to advice.
16   The vexation of a fool is known at once,
    but the prudent ignores an insult.
17   Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
    but a false witness utters deceit.

Tue 15 May, 2018


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