Psalm 21, continued
Here is a brief recap of what we have looked at thus far: Psalm 21 is a Psalm of David. It was penned and sung by David during his times of praising and rejoicing in the salvation he had been blessed with by his God. In the first two verses of this Psalm we see the Psalmist David rejoice greatly in the salvation and strength the LORD had blessed him with. He had desired to be saved from the hand of his enemies and God had indeed rescued him; not only from the human enemy but also from the hand of the prince of the darkness, Satan. Psalm 21 leads us up to the very steps of the throne of God in preparation for Psalm 22 which will escort us to the foot of the cross.
I left you with the question last week, “why should we value our salvation a gazillion times more than our spouses, our children, our families, friends, etc…? Today we are going to (hopefully) answer that question. Let’s start in verse 3.
“3) For You have meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of
pure gold upon his head. 4) He asked life from You, and You gave it to him-
length of days forever and ever. 5) His glory is great in Your salvation; honor
and majesty You have placed upon him. 6) For You have made him most blessed
forever; you have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.”
Psalm 21:3-6, NKJV
Look with me at Luke 15:11-32. Here we find the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus to an audience made up mostly of Jews. A certain man had two sons who knew they would one day receive an inheritance from their father. The younger son asked for his portion of the inheritance and his father divided his possessions between his boys. The younger son left home and proceeded to squander away all that his father had blessed him with. I find it interesting that in verse 13 God’s Word says, “he wasted his possessions with prodigal living.” Prodigal means exceedingly or recklessly wasteful. This younger son took all that his father had blessed him with and wasted every bit of it. He had nothing left to show of his inheritance. In fact, in the end he was out back slopping hogs and starving to death. For Jesus to throw in there that this young son was feeding hogs was absolutely degrading to His Jewish audience. Swine were considered, by the Jew, to be the worst of the unclean animals. Scripture doesn’t give us a time frame for how long it took this young boy to realize his squandering of his blessings was wrong. This time of “wilderness wandering”, if you will, left him literally bankrupt and hungry. It was at this point, that he was able to see his situation for what it was; sin and rebellion. He realized that he had sinned against God his heavenly Father and also his earthly father. What was about to come next in this parable, no one in Jesus’ audience was prepared for.
In this day and age, the Jewish community had a way of punishing sons who lost the family inheritance. The Jerusalem Talmud and the Dead Sea Scrolls talk of what is known as a qetsatsah ceremony. Members of the wayward son’s village would gather together and perform this ceremony. This was a ritual that consisted of filling a large pot with burned nuts and burned corn and then breaking it in front of the guilty party. As the pot shattered, the people would shout, “____________ is cut off from his people.” This statement would be the cue for the wayward son to leave his village for good. (John Mark Ministries as taken from Christianity Today, 1998, by Kenneth E. Bailey)
To the surprise of Jesus’ audience, the father in the story didn’t react to his son as the listener’s expected. Instead of waiting at home for his wayward son to come crawling back begging for forgiveness, as any other self-respected Middle Eastern father would have done, the father in Jesus’ story is looking with great anticipation for the return of his precious son. I can just imagine that day after day he stood at the front door of his home looking toward the horizon hoping and praying for the return of his son. And one day, it happened. This father who loved his son more than words can express saw his son from a long way off making that journey home. As soon as the father lays his eyes on his son, he turns around goes in the house. Uh, no! He runs as fast as he can (keep in mind, this father was probably up in age), throws his arms around his son, and showers his face with kisses of love. The father acts quickly and effectively to prevent his fellow villagers from organizing a qetsatsah ceremony to ban his son from the village for good. Kenneth Bailey goes on the say in his article, how magnificent the sight of this father running to his son would have been:
Traditional Middle Easterners, wearing long robes, do not run in public. They never have. To do so would be deeply humiliating. The father runs knowing that in so doing he will deflect the attention of the community away from his ragged son to himself. People will focus on the extraordinary sight of a distinguished, self-respecting landowner humiliating himself in public by running down the road revealing his legs.
This father was overjoyed to see the sight of his son coming over the hill. He couldn’t wait to greet him. He had anticipated this moment for a long time. He threw a huge party in celebration of his son’s return.
Here’s what I especially want you to see today. This father placed the best robe he had, which would have been reserved for the guest of honor, on his tired, hunger sons body; a ring, symbolizing authority, on his hand; and sandals, that would not have been worn by slaves, on his feet which shows us that this son had been completely restored into his father’s fellowship. This wayward prodigal son had been met with blessings of goodness and had been clothed with honor and majesty. This weary son who had been humiliated beyond humiliation was now glad of heart in the presence of his father. He had been restored back into right relationship with his father. This father saw past the filth and rebellion of his son, saw down to the depths of his heart, and blessed his young son with the very best that he had.
In this parable we find reason to value our salvation more than anything else in life. Our heavenly Father has clothed us with majesty and honor. God looks past the filth that fills our hearts and lives, and peers down deep into the depths of our souls and sees only what He created us to be. Because of the death, burial, and resurrection of His precious Son you and I, as believers in Jesus Christ, have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ Himself and have been blessed with the privilege of eternal living in right fellowship with our Father.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we
might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,my soul shall be joyful in my God;for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10, NKJV
Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
*Do your value you salvation a gazillion times more than anything else in life?
*Have you wasted away blessings your Father has given you? Are you using the gifts and talents He gave you to bring honor and glory to His name?
*Do you need to come back to Him today? Are you in the middle of a time of wilderness wondering? Sweet friend, He is waiting for you today with arms open wide ready to receive you back into His fellowship. God the Father so desires to clothe you with glory, honor, majesty, and with the righteousness of His precious Son whose blood was shed just for you. Receive His love and forgiveness today and let’s celebrate.