Georgina Hall ponders Psalm 139:1-16 and Luke 15: 11-32
I love the fact that the Scriptures are the Living Word of God. I love this because it means that the same passage can be read 100 times, and 100 times God himself can speak through it in a way that is always relevant. There is a depth to His words that is not always accessible but when He needs to speak, it is eminently clear.
This past couple of months, I have been mulling on the parable of the Prodigal Son. And with that parable I found myself drawn to Psalm 139.
In Luke 15 we meet a son who lived with his dad, took everything he could get and went away. After wasting it all he sees an alternative to living with the pigs. It is his memory of his Fathers care – even for his servants – that draws him home in the hope of a job (at the most) working for his dad. You know the rest….. Dad runs out to greet son, big celebration, jealous elder brother who’s always been a good boy and dad’s great love, forgiveness and provision for both his boys.
What calls the Prodigal back? Desperation for one thing. He was deeply troubled and exhausted from trying to go it alone, without a guiding hand. Perhaps loneliness? Either way, his memory of the care and security offered by his dad to even the lowliest in his household is what turns his face towards home….
And this is where Psalm 139 comes into the picture.
You see, we tend to think of prodigals as those who have been brought up in a Christian household and have ‘fallen away’, or perhaps they have chosen Jesus, become Christians and have had doubts that have taken them far from God’s truths. It’s as if the Prodigals are a separate group from you and me.
But look! Psalm 139 tells us that God himself knows us. Everything about us! How? Because, he says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” So this means that even before we were born we knew our creator, we will have known His loving care as He watched over our creation, as He put us together.
The Psalm is full of joy as the writer proclaims that God knows everything about him and is everywhere for him – and always has been! Is there an echo in the Prodigal of that joy?
What happened next?
I suggest that as we seek to serve our Lord, reaching out to others, we remember that He himself knows every person on the planet, He knit each man and woman together, He knows and is Father to every person whatever their present situation. Every person comes from the Father, every person is a Prodigal, for every person has deep within them the memory of His loving care as they were created!
What happened next? Did the son who returned stay forever in this perfect relationship with the father? Or were there days when he was once again the Prodigal? Did the elder son ever recognise quite how great was his dad’s love for him? Did he walk away only to return in repentance and receive that ever present grace of forgiveness? It’s just a story, so we will never know. But it does open our eyes to that extraordinary thing – that we have a real and living relationship with the Living God.
Today I give thanks that Father God was always there and IS always there. There is no person created who has not known Him for He knit each one of us together before we were born.
Jesus, thank you for your words, living still today as they did 2000 years ago. Father, thank you that you started us out on a journey, long before we realised your love. Holy Spirit lead us to those who do not yet remember their Father Creator and prompt us to speak in words they understand – words from you in order that they too would know the joy of your embrace. Amen!
Georgina Hall is part of the TFM (Through Faith Missions) team in the UK.