“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” Isaiah 40:2
The Lord looked upon His people and reached out to comfort them in their distress. He held His beloved close and whispered in her ear that everything was going to be okay.
Israel represents mankind in this story. She has run away, seeking her own pleasures and lusts. She represents rebellion and moral failure. She has come to the end of herself and has experienced the horror of warfare brought on by her own rejection of God.
Jesus described this very scenario in His parable of the prodigal son:
“A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there came a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want…But when he came to himself…I will arise and go to my father…Luke 15:11-14, 17, 18
This is where the Lord makes a way for the prodigal to come home and where justice is served. Justice? Yes, my friend, God’s justice is filled with mercy and compassion. God’s justice actually fights to make a way for the desires of His heart to become a reality. His desire, in the case of mankind, is to walk in a covenantal relationship with each individual.
On the one hand, God’s law requires that there be punishment for sin. That is justice. But His justice does not play out the way you would expect. From God’s perspective, the covenant was His responsibility to fulfill. He understood the weakness of humanity when He made the covenant. He was so serious about His commitment that He put Abraham to sleep when He made the covenant demonstrating that He Himself would uphold its requirements.
So, on the other hand, God’s justice provided the way home for the prodigal because He, as the Father, only ever wanted to receive His people as sons and daughters. By sending Jesus to fulfill humanity’s part of the covenant (obeying the righteous requirements of the law), God made a way for you and me to come home where we belong.
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:23-24
Through Jesus, justice was served! The blood of the Lamb removed the guilty stain.
Comfort came when God wrapped Himself in human flesh and blood and was born of a virgin. He was born to die, and He was born to bring salvation. He justly redeemed, restored, and forgave us. Our war with sin was won, and the way home made straight and clear!
Let’s talk about it.
What was your life like when you were a prodigal?
What is your life like now as a son/daughter?
Reflect on the amazing way God served justice by becoming the sacrifice on your behalf.
Does that bring joy and comfort to your soul?