If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
We were once that rebellious child who refused to obey. We did not respond at first to God’s chastening. We were bent on choosing our own path, a path away from God and good and righteousness. We indulged in every sin, made wrong choices, followed the selfish path of pleasure. But instead of casting us off to die apart from Him, which we totally deserved, He instead came close. He met us where we were. His mercy found us in our brokenness, and He sought to draw us to Him.
Keeping ourselves righteous and sanctified is important. God reiterates over and over that evil was not to dwell among His people, and when it was found, it was to be cast out and destroyed. Any hint of it had to be dealt with because His holiness cannot tolerate it, and so neither should we. But sometimes we stubbornly cling to our evil ways, ignoring any pleas to repent. But keeping evil from our own hearts and lives, our families, our churches, our society is important, and sometimes it requires a huge sacrifice.
It’s difficult to imagine parents bringing their son out to be stoned to death in front of them. That seems so harsh and cruel. But then didn’t God send His Son to die for us so that we might be free from sin? Didn’t God subject His only begotten to torture and humiliation and agony so that evil could be put away from us forever? Didn’t He go to extremes to ensure that we could be counted righteous even though we were the ones who deserved to die?
Let us be thankful for the mercy and grace available to us through Jesus and what He has done for us. Let us live with grateful hearts that we didn’t get what we deserved and were redeemed by His precious blood. May this remind us to be thankful that His grace abounds above and beyond our sin. And may we always treasure the day that Jesus came into our hearts and cast out that stubborn and rebellious part of us and changed us so completely.