When I really take the time to think it through, it’s hard enough to come to God and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. Who are we that He would be so kind to us? Surely this is already asking too much from Him?
Confession and repentance already takes great boldness that is drenched in humility. It takes a great amount of faith and guts to go the offended and ask them to bear the offense.
How then could we ask for even more blessings from God? How could we expect greater blessings?
That’s exactly what the prodigal thought.
In his arrogance and pride, the prodigal disrepectfully took all the riches that he could from the father and ran away from the father’s presence. The prodigal wasted the gift that he didn’t earn on every whim and desire that he had only to find himself empty and bankrupt.
While eating with the pigs, the prodigal gains enough courage, enough boldness, to at least approach the father again. Maybe the father would at least allow the prodigal to be a servant? Maybe the father would allow the prodigal to be somewhat near again? In the vicinity of the father’s presence? That’s was already asking for and expecting a lot.
Never in a million years did the prodigal dream that the father was ready to welcome the son into his presence with open arms and tear-filled eyes of joy. Surprisingly, the father doesn’t just let him in again, the father gifts the son with blessing after blessing. It was the father’s joy to give abundantly to the son.
Receiving a gift like this is difficult.
It takes humility to receive a gift that you know that you don’t deserve. For example, it’s almost painful to truly receive a gift from a friend when you know that you forgot their birthday.
But not receiving the gift dishonors the giver.
God doesn’t need anything from us. He is incredibly happy just as He is. And one of the wonderful things about happy people is that they delight in making others happy.
God loves to make us happy in Him. In exchange for our rebellion and sin - He is literally giving us the universe. Through Christ He has given us blessing after blessing for all of eternity.
We dishonor His good and giving heart by not humblyreceiving theses gifts from Him. In fact, we dishonor Him if we don’t, in faith and boldness, ask for these promised blessings. That’s why David, right in the middle of confessing the yuck of his sin, boldly asks God to not only forgive him, but to also restore the joy of being back in relationship with God. It’s like a unfaithful spouse going to the offended spouse and asking not only for a restoration of the marriage, but for a renewal of the spark they had when they first fell in love.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation to me…
God wants the spark back too. He wants us to experience all the joys, priveledges, and blessings that come from being in relationship with Him. He doesn’t want to simply “put up” with us. He doesn’t want to simply let us in. What good Father wants that?
We need to press on in faith and boldness by asking God not only for forgiveness, but also for joy. We honor who He is when we ask for this joy.