Ezekiel 39:25 “But now,” the Lord God says, “I will end the captivity of my people and have mercy upon them and restore their fortunes, for I am concerned about my reputation!
Most parents are concerned about how their children look. I remember as a child, when my mother was on welfare for a short time- after her divorce she struggled to make ends meet. She worked as a nurse and went to school to earn her RN degree while raising three kids. Looking at her children you would never know we were struggling. She had a reputation to uphold. She didn’t want anybody to think she was not taking care of her kids. We looked good!
Her love did not come without discipline. If we acted up we got it! Again she had a reputation to uphold. No child of hers was going to go out in public and act like they didn’t have any home training. She had a reputation to uphold.
God is the same with his children. Our Heavenly Father chastises those whom he loves. If God doesn’t discipline us then we are illegitimate children. When we choose to do wrong, God will hide his face from us. He’s not obligated to provide for those who refuse him as father. Jesus said, “If you love me then keep my commandments!” When we turn away from God or God hides his face from our wickedness it begins to be obvious to others that we are uncovered.
The Children of Israel had turned away from God and chose wickedness instead. As a result God turned them over to their enemies. The children he had made a covenant with looked like tragedy orphaned kids. After a while this didn’t sit well with God and he said, “I got to bring them back because I’m concerned about y reputation!”
Many of us have been “out there” for too long. We tried to go at it on our on and we have drifted so far from God that it’s starting to show. We are like the prodigal son; we went from designer clothes to “hand me downs,” we went from being in college to working for scraps and God has gotten word that his children are looking bad.
- You have to make up your mind that I want to come back home. God never wants to give up on his children but he’s not going to force you to come back either. There has to be a willingness to turn back to God and away from what’s destroying you.
- God will bring you back. We can’t do it in our own strength. When God sees you making an effort, he will meet you half way. He will have mercy on us. Mercy is not giving us what we deserved. Justice demanded that we should die but mercy said “No!”
- God will restore our fortunes. There is an inheritance that was due us but we forfeited through disobedience. When God brings us back he reinstates what was due to us. Nothing is going to line up financially until we come back from captivity.
- God is bringing us back because he’s concerned about his reputation. David said in Psalm 23 that God “leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” God is Holy. God is good. He can’t allow his children to go around looking bad.
This Sunday is “National Back to Church Sunday.” Don’t you think it’s time to come back to God? Don’t you think it’s time to invite someone who has been gone too long and you can see how life has been rough on them? Do you have a friend or relative who needs to come back to God? Then come back! Invite them back! God wants to restore them. He wants to restore you. He’s concerned about his reputation.
Help me to carry myself like your child. I don’t want to embarrass you or me. You’ve taken good care of me Father. You were there for me every step of the way. I want to say thank you for being my provider. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you or let you down. Now that you have allowed me to come back home, use me to get the rest of my brothers and sisters back to church this Sunday. Life without you Lord is like a ship without a sail. I’m lost without you! Thank you for bringing me back home.
In Jesus Name,