A Miracle-Working God
“We can say with grateful hearts, the Lord is with us. We have had an unusual degree of freedom in the Lord.”—An Appeal to the Youth, p. 76.
There’s liberty in rightdoing. Before getting into vices—enjoying the privileges of real freedom in childhood innocence—there are times when we are older youth that we tend to get deluded into the enticement of evil things. We suddenly imagine and assume that we are somehow deprived and need more exposure and freedom from parental control.
The prodigal son ofwas drawn into indulgence in what he heard and saw around him. “This younger son had become weary of the restraint of his father’s house. He thought that his liberty was restricted. His father’s love and care for him were misinterpreted, and he determined to follow the dictates of his own inclination.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 198. Coming to his father he said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me” ( , first part).
We read how the father responded to the younger son’s request: “And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living” (, ).
The youth, “having obtained his patrimony, he goes into ‘a far country,’ away from his father’s home. With money in plenty, and liberty to do as he likes, he flatters himself that the desire of his heart is reached. There is no one to say, Do not do this, for it will be an injury to yourself; or, Do this, because it is right.”—Ibid., p. 199. Fiendish forces rejoice as the blinded young fellow descends down the path that leads into the wilderness!
Solomon depicts such like him with the following description: “For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life” ().
“The Bible tells of men who ‘professing themselves to be wise’ ‘became fools’ (); and this is the history of the young man of the parable. The wealth which he has selfishly claimed from his father he squanders upon harlots. The treasure of his young manhood is wasted.”—Ibid., p. 199.
“Evil companions help him to plunge ever deeper into sin, and he wastes his ‘substance with riotous living.’ ”—Ibid.
“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And 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 unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” ().
“The glitter and tinsel that enticed him have disappeared, and he feels the burden of his chain. Sitting upon the ground in that desolate and famine-stricken land, with no companions but the swine, he is fain to fill himself with the husks on which the beasts are fed. Of the gay companions who flocked about him in his prosperous days and ate and drank at his expense, there is not one left to befriend him. Where now is his riotous joy? Stilling his conscience, benumbing his sensibilities, he thought himself happy; but now, with money spent, with hunger unsatisfied, with pride humbled, with his moral nature dwarfed, with his will weak and untrustworthy, with his finer feelings seemingly dead, he is the most wretched of mortals.”—Ibid., p. 200.
The solution to all this misery is the father’s love. The position of a servant is preferred when compared to the current situation.
“The love of God still yearns over the one who has chosen to separate from Him, and He sets in operation influences to bring him back to the Father’s house. The prodigal son in his wretchedness ‘came to himself.’ The deceptive power that Satan had exercised over him was broken. He saw that his suffering was the result of his own folly, and 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.’ Miserable as he was, the prodigal found hope in the conviction of his father’s love. It was that love which was drawing him toward home. So it is the assurance of God’s love that constrains the sinner to return to God. ‘The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.’. A golden chain, the mercy and compassion of divine love, is passed around every imperiled soul. The Lord declares, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’ .”—Ibid., p. 201.
“Little did the gay, thoughtless youth, as he went out from his father’s gate, dream of the ache and longing left in that father’s heart. When he danced and feasted with his wild companions, little did he think of the shadow that had fallen on his home. And now as with weary and painful steps he pursues the homeward way, he knows not that one is watching for his return. But while he is yet ‘a great way off’ the father discerns his form. Love is of quick sight. Not even the degradation of the years of sin can conceal the son from the father’s eyes. He ‘had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck in a long, clinging, tender embrace.”—Ibid., p. 203.
“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” ().
The elder brother was offended. In his view, the “now found” is no longer considered a brother to him because of the amazing grace of the Father.
“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” ().
“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (). (More joy over one added because he/she was lost. The ninety and nine need not to be angry because they are saved already.)
“When Satan tells you that you are a sinner, and cannot hope to receive blessing from God, tell him that Christ came into the world to save sinners. We have nothing to recommend us to God; but the plea that we may urge now and ever is our utterly helpless condition that makes His redeeming power a necessity. Renouncing all self-dependence, we may look to the cross of Calvary and say,—
“ ‘In my hand no price I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling.’ ”—The Desire of Ages, p. 317.