“And I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7
The Widening Distance
A father in utter desperation watched from the rooftop as his son disappeared into the dusty horizons. He had never in his wildest imaginations thought that his own son would leave unapologetically. But why wouldn’t he just wait for a few more years? What could be harder for a father than to unwillingly usher his inexperienced son to a world of wolves? But he had no option, the son had decided!
A few years later or perhaps months, the questioned wisdom of his father began to become the reality. The weight of guilt began to haunt him, and he went further from home in his mind. The thought of going back home was far-fetched. His pride could not allow him to return back home. In a bid to cover his guilt and shame, he hired himself out for free. Who would have thought that the son of a wealthy and renowned Jew would spend a part of his life feeding the abominable pigs? (Luke 15:11-31).
The Strategy: Grace
The story of the prodigal son is a classical example of both the Israelites and humanity’s struggle to believe in the goodwill of Father God. Isaiah declares, “We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…!” All have gone far. Jeremiah 24:7 is a picture of a father on the lookout envisioning the return of his son; his son Israel. This is the vision, ” and I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord…” The Father is setting the vision. A part of the Israelites had already fallen away and carried captivity. This was God’s strategy to restore them back and for that to happen there had to be a change of heart. The results would be that they would be God’s people and He would be their God. In
Romans 12:2 Paul says, “…but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” If Israel had to know the Lordship of God, then their minds had to be transformed and aligned without which they would never know God. The main goal of all this was for restoration, where God would be their personal God and where they would return to God with their whole heart. The Grace of God would reach out to them, as much they were cast away and restore them.
The End: Grace
The story of the prodigal son ends with the son humbling himself and going back home. Though filthy, and weary, he had already come back to his senses and with that, the distant home was not a problem. Many think that because of what they have done and continue to do, they are too lost to be restored. Christ died for those who were far and those who have been near all along. There is no sin that is too much for him to forgive. His grace runs deeper than your sin (Romans 5:8).
King James Version (KJV)
“And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”
New International Version (NIV)
“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“I will also give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me wholeheartedly.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“I will give them hearts that respond to me. They shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with great joy.”