“…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, NIV)
We all know that famous line from Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. The father receives the son back, forgives him for his ugliness, and restores the boy to his place in the family.
The young man discovered that sin promises you more than it delivers, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you’d ever dream. But the boy finally “came to his senses” and returned to find grace awaiting him.
This Sunday we’re going to read the story of King Ahab’s sin in 1 Kings 21. I’m going to show you biblically how to avoid sin in your own life – so you don’t have to end up eating with the pigs before you wise up.
Ahab’s sin is much uglier than the prodigal’s. Through Elijah, God spoke judgment over Ahab. But then something interesting happened. “When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.” (1 Kings 21:27, NIV) Judgment still occurred and Ahab’s royal line ended, but God showed mercy and grace to Ahab who received somewhat of a reprieve (see v. 28).
When I saw that God showed mercy and grace to someone like Ahab…honestly it made me a bit upset with God. How could he?! Then I started thinking…I’m just like the older brother in the story of the prodigal: upset at the father’s display of grace and mercy to someone I don’t feel “deserves” it.
The other day in town I ran into someone I do not like. I will admit it here to you. I am human. I don’t like everyone. Some people (not you) really bug me. As I conversed with feigned politeness and affected smile, the Lord spoke to my heart and I saw an image in my mind.
There will come a day when I will be in heaven. I will hear heaven’s gate open. I will see the Father jump from his throne to rush to embrace…him? No, not him! Surely there’s a mistake! What is HE doing here?
And that will be the moment I finally understand grace. I will then begin to comprehend God’s forgiveness of me.