The Return of the Prodigal Son
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
+ God’s longing for man:
When God created man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life in which there is His own Godly breath” And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” ( Genesis 2:7). And this did not happen until God had created Adam in His image” Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ( Genesis 1:26). And from here we realize the longing of God for man; explaining the words referring to the Lord Christ the Son of the living God, who is the Wisdom of God” Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men” ( Proverbs 8:31). It also explains the extent of power that the Lord granted to man, given form God’s personal power, ordering nature to” Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” ( Genesis 1:26). Dear reader, note God’s interest in humanity represented in Zion in the Old Testament or the church in the New Testament, comparing Himself to a compassionate mother in her attraction and longing to her children, wondering “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me” ( Isaiah 49:15-16). He longs to hear and see the human’s soul “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely” ( Song of Solomon 2:14). Those longings from God to us melt with sweetness in the book of the Song of Solomon declaring” I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night” ( Song of Solomon 5:2). And the soul acknowledges it’s longing to the Lord declaring” I am my beloved’s, And his desire is toward me” ( Song of Solomon 7:10). Although God reveals His true longing for man yet, He does not force Himself on his freedom of choice, He offers him His love and the will to live and unite with Him and the decision is left to man” Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” ( Revelation 3:20). The man who decides to accept living with God and respond to Him, will rejoice in His richness “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” ( John 14:23).
+ Man’s longing for God:
Going back to the book of the Song of Solomon, we find the human’s soul longing for God like a lover in her search after she was lost because of her ignorance and stubbornness” I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, That you tell him I am lovesick! ( Song of Solomon 5:8). Describing the Lord as being” His legs are pillars of marble Set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, Excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, And this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem! ( Song of Solomon 5:15-16). O loved ones of the Lord, when we return to God with repentance and open our hearts for Him, we will discover a raging stream of love towards Him within. Prophet Isaiah has described this f lowing longing towards God by saying” With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth,The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” ( Isaiah 26:9). The spirit has pointed to us in the book os psalms that the continuos meditation and learning of the word of God leads us to this longing to God and His commandments” Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness” ( Psalm 119:40). This also leads us to a permanent relationship with the Lord taking refuge in Him in every step of our lives, forever” Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste” ( Song of Solomon 2:3). Our longing to God comes as a natural result of our attraction towards the source of our existence. And behind all this is an unlimited Divine love before time” We love Him because He f irst loved us” ( 1John 4:19). Isn’t it absurd to waste years of our lives craving the world’s earthly things which are emptiness, thirst, and hunger fooling ourselves? Solomon summed it up for us saying” Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11). My beloved, if you come back to yourself and discovered that you long for earthly things” For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). And as we all know that the world leith in wickedness you will have no choice but to scream from the heart to God, humbly saying” Draw me away! ( Song of Solomon 1:4). Being proud of our love and longing for the Lord saying” Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” ( Romans 8:35-36). Dear God, to you we long for, loving you with all our heart, soul, mind and capability. Please accept us if we open our hearts to accept you to reign on us, fulfilling what came in the Book of Revelation about your faithful people to taste heaven now” 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “ And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.( Revelation 21:3).
Written November 2016