Lesson 4 -- third quarter 2003
June 22, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
He has returned
Generally, when we think of returns, we think of a strayed someone or something finally coming back home. The prodigal son struck off in dissatisfaction and rebellion. Then, after life got really tough, he came to his senses and returned to his father in complete repentance. The wandering, careless sheep wandered away and got itself lost. Then, after the shepherd's successful search, it was returned to the safety of the fold.
In this lesson, though, we have this difference: It is the Lord who returns to His people. No, it wasn't that He had become a lost prodigal who finally saw His need and returned repentant. Neither was it that He was finally rescued from danger by someone greater than He. Not at all. Rather, the Lord had left His people because their hearts had turned away from Him.
But now the Lord has returned. Oh the excitement and thrill of knowing the Lord is once again free to do what He yearned to do all along -- be with His people! Oh the joy, peace, and satisfaction of having Him among them once again!
Because of His return, truth and holiness also returned. How marvelous that deception, guile, and dishonesty have been driven away and replaced by truth! How wonderful to have holiness dispel and supplant moral and spiritual uncleanness, contamination, and debauchery! "Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain" (Zechariah 8:3).
The Lord's return also means abundant life, peace, safety, security, freedom, prosperity, and joy. Families are complete, having the full range of age, from the very young to the very old. Both the young and the old can be at home, spilling out into the streets without care and fear. "There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof" (Zechariah 8:4,5).
Of course the people thought this return and its results were wonderful and extraordinary. So did God! "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 8:6).
I wonder how many people thought with regret of all the wasted years when their hearts were turned away from God. What a pity to consider all the unnecessary fear, misery, bondage, and sin they had gone through!
Where are you?
God's people had provoked His wrath to the point that He had finally driven them from His land and His presence. They were exiled from the land they loved and from the God Who loved them. And they couldn't rightly blame the fickle pickyness of God. Their sin and rebellion had brought this upon them.
But then they turned their hearts back toward Him, discarding rebellion and self-centeredness for submission and God-awareness.
So God saved them and brought them back to Himself and their land.
Where are you? At home in His presence . . . or have you left?
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