Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 16: "Lost, and is Found"
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The young man turns from the swine herds and the
husks, and sets his face toward home. Trembling with
weakness and faint from hunger, he presses eagerly on his
way. He has no covering to conceal his rags; but his [p. 203] misery has conquered pride ,and he hurries on to beg a
servant's place where he was once a child.
Little did the gay, thoughtless youth, as he went out
from his father's gate, dream of the ache and longing left in
that father's heart. When he danced and feasted with his
wild companions, little did he think of the shadow that had
fallen on his home. And now as with weary and painful
steps he pursues the homeward way, he knows not that one
is watching for his return. But while he is yet "a great
way off" the father discerns his form. Love is of quick
sight. Not even the degradation of the years of sin can
conceal the son from the father's eyes. He "had compassion,
and ran, and fell on his neck" in a long, clinging,
The father will permit no contemptuous eye to mock at
his son's misery and tatters. He takes from his own
shoulders the broad, rich mantle, and wraps it around the [p. 204] son's wasted form, and the youth sobs out his repentance,
saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy
sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son." The
father holds him close to his side, and brings him home.
No opportunity is given him to ask a servant's place. He
is a son, who shall be honored with the best the house
affords, and whom the waiting men and women shall respect
The father said to his servants, "Bring forth the best
robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and
shoes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill
it; and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead,
and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they
began to be merry."
In his restless youth the prodigal looked upon his
father as stern and severe. How different his conception of
him now! So those who are deceived by Satan look upon
God as hard and exacting. They regard Him as watching
to denounce and condemn, as unwilling to receive the
sinner so long as there is a legal excuse for not helping him.
His law they regard as a restriction upon men's happiness,
a burdensome yoke from which they are glad to escape.
But he whose eyes have been opened by the love of Christ
will behold God as full of compassion. He does not appear
as a tyrannical, relentless being, but as a father longing to
embrace his repenting son. The sinner will exclaim with
the Psalmist, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the
Lord pitieth them that fear Him." Ps. 103:13.
In the parable there is no taunting, no casting up to
the prodigal of his evil course. The son feels that the
past is forgiven and forgotten, blotted out forever. And so
God says to the sinner, "I have blotted out, as a thick
cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins," Isa.
44:22. "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember [p. 205] their sin no more." Jer. 31:34. "Let the wicked forsake
his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let
him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon
him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isa.
55:7. "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the
iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be
none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found."
What assurance here, of God's willingness to receive the
repenting sinner! Have you, reader, chosen your own way?
Have you wandered far from God? Have you sought to
feast upon the fruits of transgression, only to find them
turn to ashes upon your lips? And now, your substance
spent, your life-plans thwarted, and your hopes dead, do
you sit alone and desolate? Now that voice which has long
been speaking to your heart but to which you would not
listen comes to you distinct and clear, "Arise ye, and
depart; for this is not your rest; because it is polluted, it
shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction." Micah
2:10. Return to your Father's house. He invites you,
saying, "Return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee."
Do not listen to the enemy's suggestion to stay away
from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you
are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, [p. 206] you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy
garments, repeat the promise of Jesus, "Him that cometh
to Me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. Tell the
enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin.
Make the prayer of David your own, "Purge me with
hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter
than snow." Ps. 51:7.
Arise and go to your Father. He will meet you a
great way off. If you take even one step toward Him
in repentance, He will hasten to enfold you in His arms
of infinite love. His ear is open to the cry of the contrite
soul. The very first reaching out of the heart after God is
known to Him. Never a prayer is offered, however faltering,
never a tear is shed, however secret, never a sincere
desire after God is cherished, however feeble, but the Spirit
of God goes forth to meet it. Even before the prayer is
uttered or the yearning of the heart made known, grace
from Christ goes forth to meet the grace that is working
upon the human soul.
Your heavenly Father will take from you the garments
defiled by sin. In the beautiful parabolic prophecy of
Zechariah, the high priest Joshua, standing clothed in filthy
garments before the angel of the Lord, represents the
sinner. And the word is spoken by the Lord, "Take away the
filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold,
I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will
clothe thee with change of raiment. . . . So they set a
fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments."
Zech. 3:4, 5. Even so God will clothe you with "the
garments of salvation," and cover you with "the robe of
righteousness." Isa. 61:10. "Though ye have lien among the
pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with
silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." Ps. 68:13.
He will bring you into His banqueting house, and His [p. 207] banner over you shall be love. (Cant. 2:4) "If thou wilt
walk in My ways," He declares, "I will give thee places to
walk among these that stand by"—even among the holy
angels that surround His throne. (Zech. 3:7.)
"As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall
thy God rejoice over thee." Isa. 62:5. "He will save, He
will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love;
He will joy over thee with singing." Zeph. 3:17. And
heaven and earth shall unite in the Father's song of
rejoicing: "For this My son was dead, and is alive again;
he was lost, and is found."
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