The two chapters of Scripture we’re going over today might not seem like they tie in together at first glance, but as I was reading these two passages, my heart was definitely drawn to a few aspects of each. Both chapters, in my mind, I believe, discuss the character of my God. Let’s start with the beginning of Luke 15, focusing on verses 1-7:
By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.
“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
Can we all just pause for a second and recognize how totally grateful we are that our God is a God who “takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends?” My goodness. I can’t help but think that it’s a really good thing that He does, because I don’t know where I would be without that kind of grace in my life. That is the God we worship: a God who will come and be with us. Immanuel. He is not a God who is distant.
Psalm 63 seems to be the perfect place to transition to from this point of total thankfulness for Who our God is. In this Psalm, the author is recounting all the ways that God has been good to him, and I love what he says in verses 5-8, in The Message version:
I eat my fill of prime rib and gravy;
I smack my lips. It’s time to shout praises!
If I’m sleepless at midnight,
I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
Because you’ve always stood up for me,
I’m free to run and play.
I hold on to you for dear life,
and you hold me steady as a post.
Because we have a God who came to be with us, a God who will eat with sinners, a God who will chase after the one who has run away, and a God who isn’t far from us even when we are imperfect, we can live this same sort of abundant life we read about in Psalm 62. We are “free to run and play” as we hold on to Jesus for dear life, because we are loved by a God who came. Today, my hope is that you can rest in the fact that God is not far away or even angry with you. Instead, He wants to fellowship with you and draw near to you… in fact, He even promised, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). And you get to experience that free and full kind of life that Psalm 63 talks about because of Jesus. Today, draw near to God and allow Him to show you the kind of life He has for you to live.