Proverbs are often useful as guideposts in our lives. If you have ever been traveling down the highway you have seen signs along the way full of information that can be helpful. Often you will see a small note at the bottom of a highway sign "last services for 100 miles". It is good to take note of them, make sure you have enough gas to travel 100 miles, and no one will have to use the restroom for a few hours.
However, we can be distracted, see the sign, and simply travel on. Should we suddenly notice we do need gas or the restroom, hopefully, we remember the sign that tells us none are available for a long way and turn around to find the services we need. Otherwise, we'll end up on the side of the road with a dead car or in other embarrassing situations.
Jesus taught us how wisdom can be ignored, and we can wander away from good sense. But we need not "rest in the assembly of the dead" if we can admit our mistakes and turn back. Jesus shared a parable about a son who acted foolishly and wandered off from the blessings of his father. However, in the depths of his foolishness and depravity, he remembers something, "But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!" (Luke 15:17)
The son then gets up and goes home. We use the word 'repent' a lot, and often we leave it as just an 'I'm sorry' to God when we have done wrong. But the word 'repent' in the original language of scripture literally meant to turn around and go the other way. Stop going in the WRONG direction with our lives, turn around and head in the right way.
We love this parable of a son coming home, a forgiving father and a blessed reunion capped off with a celebration. However, as much as we may think we relate to the “prodigal son” it was really the OTHER bother who was the focus of this teaching for Jesus' original audience.
When this brother hears the commotion of the celebration, he wonders what is happening. "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in". (Luke 15:27-28)
Now, this was a parable. And every time Jesus speaks of a feast or a celebration in a parable, he was not talking about a fun human party. He was referring to heaven. It's one thing for this stubborn son with a hardened heart to refuse to come to a party. Where is the sense in that? But there is even less sense when the sons of God refuse to come home into the kingdom of heaven.
And that is what our proverb for today is telling us: "One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead." It makes good sense to take God up on his free offer of salvation. But it makes no sense to refuse to come into that promise because we do not like that it is offered to all.
When we rest in our own self-righteousness and refuse to come into the joy of God's salvation, freely offered to all, we have wandered away from good sense. We may feel entitled to God's grace because of our good behavior. Jesus tells us that all are welcomed at his Father's table. it is foolish indeed to deny ourselves the generous offer of God because we are afraid it's not fair who else he has invited.
So today let's not only accept God's offer of salvation but rejoice when any and all accept this invitation as well. Let us not wander from good sense and perish with the wicked but love God and his mercy and rejoice with angels when anyone turns from their mistakes to head down the path of Christ's righteousness.
Prayer for Today:
Father, thank you for inviting me to your table. Jesus thank you for providing me with the ability to accept this generous offer. By your Holy Spirit fill me with the joy of salvation, and not just my own, but for all who would enter into God's kingdom. Jesus, be my Good Shepard, so I may not wander away from good sense, but stay close to you. Amen.