Rwanda. A lot of Americans had never heard of that African country until a few years ago, and then it became the scene of horrific bloodshed and a tribal war that left thousands of Rwandans brutally slaughtered. With this awful season of attempted genocide, Rwanda became a word that was written in blood. And then the challenge became to try to heal the nation. Leaders who helped South Africa reconcile its years of apartheid violence came to Rwanda to help them find a healing road like they have. Out of that struggle came a story I’m not going to soon forget.
The son of a lady named Deborah was murdered in an act of ethnic vengeance. Months after the killing, a young man visited Deborah with this amazing confession and request. He said, “I killed your son. So take me to the authorities and let them deal with me as they will. I have not slept since I shot your son. Every time I lie down, I see you praying, and I know you are praying for me.” As extraordinary as that young man’s words were, Deborah’s response was even more amazing. She said, “I do want you to restore justice by replacing the son you killed. I’m asking you to become my son. When you visit me, I will care for you.” Today that young man is an adopted member of her household.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Open Arms and No Closed Door.”
I know just a little bit of how that young man must feel. See, I’ve been accepted as part of the family by someone from whom I deserved only punishment and rejection. After all, I had a part in the death of His Son. Then, so have you. The Son’s name is Jesus, who was nailed to a cross for your sins and mine. God has every reason to throw the book at us. But this very day, He’s offering you instead a chance to join His family and live with Him forever.
God gives us a beautiful picture of this amazing possibility in a story from the life of King David, the one from whom Jesus was descended. In 2 Samuel 9, our word for today from the Word of God, David has become the king after the previous King Saul’s all-out attempts to have him killed. It was the custom of kings then to exile or execute the families of those who had wanted them dead, so they wouldn’t become part of a future rebellion or plot. But there was one man left out of Saul’s family. His name was Mephibosheth, and he was crippled in both feet. King David had Mephibosheth brought to him, and Saul’s grandson was scared to death, of course, literally.
“‘Don’t be afraid,’ David said to him, ‘for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan” – who was Saul’s son and David’s friend, by the way – “I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.’ … and Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table like one of the king’s sons.”
That’s what God wants to do for you even though you have, like all of us, rebelled against His kingship and run your own life. It’s that rebellion that could be paid for only with the blood of God’s Son. Which means you and I were part of the reason God’s Son died. But He stands ready, no matter what you’ve done, to throw open the door and welcome you into His family and even into His heaven when you die.
The only way you’ll ever be allowed into God’s heaven, though, is on the basis of your personal relationship with the person God loves most, and that is His one and only Son, Jesus. So where you stand with God and where you’ll spend eternity depends totally on whether or not you have welcomed the Son of God into your life as your Savior from your sin. You could do that today and God will cancel the hell that you deserve and He’ll give you instead the heaven you could never deserve.
Tell him, “Jesus, I’m yours. You are my only hope.” And listen, our website is for you at a moment like this. You’ll have all the information there from God’s Word that will help you be sure you belong to Him. Go to ANewStory.com.
See, like me, you deserve the punishment for your sin against the King of all kings. But He’s ready right now to welcome you into His family, because He wants you with Him forever!