Today: Psalms 89:14-18; Romans 9:22-33; 1 Chronicles 1; 1 Chronicles 2:1-17

Psalms 89

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” Psalms 89:14

God is “righteousness and justice.” He is our perfect judge and cannot allow evil into His perfect presence. That is why the curse of our flesh, our sinfulness, condemns us to eternity apart from God.

But God is also “love and faithfulness.” We are His children and He loves us more than we could ever fathom. That is why He provided a way, at great cost to Himself, that we CAN be saved from an eternity banished from His presence.

BOTH sides of God exist simultaneously. He is not one or the other. He is both.

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, LORD. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they celebrate Your righteousness.” Psalms 89:15-16

We ARE blessed, those of us who accept God’s great love for us and live in relationship with Him. He is our “glory and strength” and we rejoice in His name!

Romans 9 – Prodigal’s Brother Syndrome

“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.” Romans 9:30-32

Craig and I are prodigal Christians. Be both lived our own way without God for many years. We did a lot of bad things and made many terrible choices that hurt others and hurt ourselves.

God saved us both in amazing, miraculous ways. We KNOW how bad we are without God. We KNOW we don’t deserve God’s mercy and forgiveness. We carry in our hearts a deep thankfulness that God reached down and saved us from ourselves.

The prodigal’s brothers are the Christians who grew up in the church, have always tried to be good Christians, and have never really been blatantly rebellious. Many Christians like that have trouble accepting prodigals like Craig and me into their church circles. (I’m so thankful that God is capable of much greater mercy and forgiveness than we humans.)

This doesn’t offend me. I totally understand their problem with people like us. They’ve spent all those years trying to be good and here we are butting in front of the line of God’s favor after living horrendous lives. How in the world could God bless terrible people like us? Doesn’t He know what kind of people we are?? It’s not fair!

This is what I call the Prodigal’s Brother Syndrome. ALL of Israel suffered from this when it became apparent that God was opening up His favor to include Gentiles. How could this be?! The Jews were the CHOSEN! And this became a huge stumbling block to many Jews. They had turned their Mosaic law, all their many rules and rituals, into their religion instead of seeking a real relationship with God. They felt that all their struggling to obey their laws should earn God’s favor. It was very difficult for them to recognize their own sinfulness and need of a Savior.

The prodigal Gentiles had no such stumbling block. They had never had such laws to follow. They KNEW they hadn’t earned God’s grace. It was so much easier for them to understand their own sinfulness.

There are other ‘good Christians’ who secretly WANT to engage in lives of sin. But they refrain (or perhaps engage in their vices privately) because they are trying to follow the rules. And they resent this. Our worldly culture makes sin look so fun and inviting. They are jealous of the prodigals who have lived such ‘free’ lives of debauchery. They assume that sin really IS as fun as all the movies make it out to be.

But prodigals know that is a LIE. We have spent years searching for that supposed fun, trying to satisfy our longings with sex, drugs, violence, etc. IT DOES NOT WORK. Why do you think we are so happy when we find the TRUE answer that fulfills our cravings? It is Jesus Christ! The world doesn’t offer us anything good. We have tasted the world and found it to be emptiness and death. We prodigals worship God because we KNOW that we desperately need a Savior!