Two prodigal stories… One of a son or daughter – the other of a nation!

Welcome home

When prodigals return home there is joy on two fronts: In the heart of the parent of the one who had departed, gone in to “far country” and now has returned home, and in the heart of the one who was estranged, squandered his or her opportunity, and who is now welcomed back and restored! And in keeping with the New Testament parable, it’s “party time!” (as it ought to be… and the elder son just needs to deal with his issues!) (Check out the story in Luke 15:11-32)
But this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read another prodigal story in the Old Testament; filled with drama and pathos just as vivid and heart warming! In it, the heart of the Heavenly Father is just as evident and the redemptive opportunity just as great! The difference? This is the story, not of a person, but of a nation – a people returning to God! And Oh, I must tell you, I long for it to be true, not only of Israel, but for our nation!
Here’s the other prodigal story from the Bible…
“Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity; accept what is good, and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.’
[Then the Heavenly Father responds…] “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon! They shall return and dwell beneath My shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon!
“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” (from Hosea 14 ESV)
Two prodigal stories! Oh the joy of seeing a wayward son or daughter return “home” (and especially return home to their “Heavenly Father”)! But equally exciting and joy generating is the return of an entire nation and people to God! And this morning my heart longs to see that fulfilled for America… It is my fervent prayer!

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