God is Not Afraid of Our Stench
There are two scriptures that have captivated my heart, one in Ezekiel and the other is the story of the prodigal son. Both speak of the grace and mercy of God towards us. Further in the chapter of Ezekiel 16, God chastised Israel for her backsliding and wanton ways, but for the point I want to make we will deal with God’s restoration of her in her pitiable state.
Ezeke. 16 1-3 God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her outrageous violations. Say this: ‘The Message of God, the Master, to Jerusalem: You were born and bred among Canaanites. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.
4-5 “‘On the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, you weren’t bathed and cleaned up, you weren’t rubbed with salt, you weren’t wrapped in a baby blanket. No one cared a fig for you. No one did one thing to care for you tenderly in these ways. You were thrown out into a vacant lot and left there, dirty and unwashed—a newborn nobody wanted.
6-7 “‘And then I came by. I saw you all miserable and bloody. Yes, I said to you, lying there helpless and filthy, “Live! Grow up like a plant in the field!” And you did. You grew up. You grew tall and matured as a woman, full-breasted, with flowing hair. But you were naked and vulnerable, fragile, and exposed.
8-14 “‘I came by again and saw you, saw that you were ready for love and a lover. I took care of you, dressed you and protected you. I promised you my love and entered the covenant of marriage with you. I, God, the Master, gave my word. You became mine. I gave you a good bath, washing off all that old blood, and anointed you with aromatic oils. I dressed you in a colorful gown and put leather sandals on your feet. I gave you linen blouses and a fashionable wardrobe of expensive clothing. I adorned you with jewelry: I placed bracelets on your wrists, fitted you out with a necklace, emerald rings, sapphire earrings, and a diamond tiara. You were provided with everything precious and beautiful: with exquisite clothes and elegant food, garnished with honey and oil. You were absolutely stunning. You were a queen! You became world-famous, a legendary beauty brought to perfection by my adornments. Decree of God, the Master. (www.Biblegateway.com/The Message)
Luke 15:11-24 The Story of the Lost Son
11-12 Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’
12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
20-21 “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.’
22-24 “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 grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here, was given up for dead, and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. (www.Biblegateway.com/The Message)
Let’s apply these two stories to ourselves. Only you and God know what stink you have been in. It is a bit easy to hide from others the deepest secrets of your life. Some of us are brave enough to be ‘transparent’, but no one truly lays themselves totally bare. For most, it is too painful for people to know your darkest self.
Sometimes because we know from whence we have come, it is hard to accept the generous gift of love that the Father offers. It is difficult to believe that He smells our pig-sty stench and still wants to wrap us in His robes of righteousness and put shoes of grace on our pig dung feet. Others of us do not realize how badly we smell, it is not apparent to us, however, others can smell what we do not. What? He is giving you His ring of authority? There is a celebration because you decided to bring your selfish self back to God!
But as in Ezekiel, He saw you wallowing in your own blood, unpitied, unwashed, uncared for and had compassion on you. He knew there was no hope for you unless He rescued you. He saw the treasure in you and picked you to be His companion. He raised you up and cleansed you; adorned you with precious oil and dressed you in royal attire. You are to be the envy of the unsaved world as they witness the grace and glory of God on you.
Was all of this so that we could go back to the place from which He delivered us? I remember when Prince Charles of England married Lady Diana Spencer. She was a commoner, well bred, but a commoner no less. Once she married Charles, her status forever changed. She was no longer a commoner, now she was part of the royal family. No one or nothing could change that and even though she did not always display royal behavior, nevertheless she was royalty. Even the queen could not dissolve her appointment to the royal family. She learned to take her place and rise to the level of her station; though not perfect, nevertheless her position was established.
We have a position in Christ and although we fail multiple times, and we are often not representative of the status we have, nevertheless our position has not changed. I believe that instead of focusing on our condition, we should focus on our position in Christ. Whatever we focus on is what we feed, and what we feed our lives is what will grow.
God is calling us to arise and re-present Jesus in the earth. The Kingdom of God is where the King rules. Allow God to be King in your life and you will live happily ever after.