in the Fold
n the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, as it has come to be known, are the scriptures that helps to pull me out of a lowly “ashes and sackcloth” attitude, the feeling of unworthiness to be called a son (daughter) of Yahweh. First, let’s read the words of Yahshua in their entirety.
Luke 15:11-32 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, journeyed into a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land; and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate: and no one gave him anything.
But when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son: make me like one of your hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and sandals on his feet: And bring the fatted calf here, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Now his older son was in the field: and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come; and because he has received him safe and sound your father has killed the fatted calf’. But he was angry, and would not go in: therefore his father came out, and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you, I never transgressed your commandment at any time: and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him. And he said unto him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.’ (KJV).
Satan desires to lead Yahweh’s sheep astray with all his being. He wants them devoured. He wants them, once lost, to feel that they will never find their way back or be accepted back into the fold. He wants them lured away from the truth, away from keeping all of Yahweh’s laws, and turn to fable (2Tim. 4:3-4). He wants them to feel like they have turned from obedience and therefore are doomed for all time. There are scriptures in 1Corinthians, Hebrews and 2Peter and others that speak of such that are doomed because they remain in sin and an unrepentant heart. Concern that these words would disconnect me from Yahweh forever would tear me apart. Satan used scriptures! He used them in wrong context to tempt, to discourage, and try to destroy even the Messiah (Mt. 4:1-11).
There are even other sheep from the old flock, their “brother”, that feel that the lost sheep do not deserve to return. That he, the brother not seeing his own iniquities, finds himself in judgment with his anger for his brother and his self-righteousness. Reading in Luke 18:11-14, particularly in verse 13, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Any law broken is breaking all of the law. (John 13:34, Mk.12:30-31). If you have not love, you have nothing. (1Cor. 13:2) .We are told to love our brother. The older brother saw himself as an obedient sheep, and felt he should be blessed with the feast and it should not be given to the sheep that wandered off and got himself lost.
But there is a loving, merciful and forgiving Father who always wanted His lost sheep to be found and who went looking for them to bring them back into the fold. (Isaiah 55:6-7, Mt. 18:10-14, John 10:6). Though they were dead they are alive again through repentance.
What was needed was a repentant heart, like Job (Job 42:4-6), David (Psalms 51:10), and Paul (Romans 7:13-25) who had also stumbled and were lost in sin for a time.
Some may be lost sheep and do not even know it. Some may need to be shown the direction, as in Matthew 19:16-22. The young rich man thought that he had faithfully kept all the commandments since his youth. Yahshua pointed out his weakness, his sin. To have eternal life, he had to repent and endure to the end.
Repentance is an ongoing need. We as humans fall short of the mark all the time. It is not just a need before baptism. In a sermon I once heard, we were taught with the analogy of the red-headed woodpecker. We need to keep pecking at it. When we stop pecking at it we fall into trouble, begin to starve and die, and need repentance to get “back on track;” be zealous, and get back to the source of our very lives, our Most Gracious Father. We cannot do it by ourselves. The trials and tests all teach us that without Yahweh, we are nothing. We can learn from our mistakes and trials and become better teachers and empathetic sons.
If we search again for
that path back to Him, return to honoring and obeying the laws of our parent,
Yahweh our Father, we too can be as the prodigal son and be welcomed with open
arms by our Father and loving brothers and sisters to live again. We in
turn can open our arms to other scattered lost sheep. It
is the will of the Father that not one of His little ones perish (Mt.
18:14-15). He gave Israel many chances and so much mercy to turn from their
ways and repent. That is the same mercy that the Father gave His prodigal son
and his oldest son as well. We, too, are to be merciful (Mt. 5:7).
It is still in humble hope that I will be accounted worthy in the end, but I feel so at peace being back in the fold, more protected from the ravenous wolves and loved so much by my Merciful, Forgiving, and Loving Father. ~