BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Luke 15:11-31 records the story of the prodigal son – his departure from home, severe suffering after wasting the inheritance he had prematurely collected from his father and his eventual return home to his father. Verse 17 says, “‘When he came to his senses,’ he said, How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death’” (NIV). Take note of that phrase, “when he came to his senses.”
According to the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary (2nd Ed), to come to your senses means “to start to understand that you have been behaving in a stupid way.” Hunger taught the prodigal son a lesson and he came to his senses. If he had not, his condition would have further worsened. But he realized he had been foolish and came back home.
Your case may or may not be like that of the prodigal son but you know it’s time to come to your senses with regard to your entire life, salvation, fellowship with God, marriage, family, finances, business, career, relationships, ministry, etc. You can’t be behaving in a stupid way and hope that something reasonable will come out of it. Come to your senses now!
King Manasseh came to his senses
Manasseh was one of the wicked kings of Judah. As a punishment from God, he was taken captive to Babylon. “Then at last he came to his senses and cried out humbly to God for help…” (2 Chron 33:12 TLB). All along Manasseh had thought he was the Alpha and Omega, and he could do and undo. He perpetrated so much evil prior to being dethroned and taken captive to Babylon (2 Chron 33:1-10). But in Babylon, affliction taught Manasseh a lesson! He came to his senses! He cried to the Lord; He heard his petition and restored him to the throne in Jerusalem as king. Verse 13b says, “Then Manasseh understood that the Lord is indeed God” (NAB). May you not wait for tragedy or trouble to teach you what the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have been trying to teach you. That’s what happen to people when they’re stubborn.
After Manasseh was restored to his throne following his repentance, he didn’t continue with his wickedness. He became a different person; he turned a new leave. Verses 14-16 record how Manasseh ruled during his second tenure – he was no longer the wicked king everybody knew!
If Manasseh had not come to his senses in Babylon; he could have died in captivity. But he didn’t have to wait for afflictions to teach him a bitter lesson before he would repent. He could have obeyed the commandments and instructions that God gave to the Israelites, and rule with the fear of God. 2 Sam 23:3b says, “He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (NKJV).
King Zedekiah didn’t come to his senses
Zedekiah was another king of Judah. If only he had come to his senses while in Judah and listen to Jeremiah’s serial warnings! (Jer 34:4-6, 37:6-10, 38:14-28). For instance, in Jer 38:17-18, Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you surely surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live; this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand” (NKJV). But Zedekiah refused to heed the warning of Jeremiah not to rebel against Babylon and to surrender. The consequence was that he experienced huge tragedy together with his family and the entire Judah. “Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes in Riblah; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon. And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the houses of the people with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive to Babylon the remnant of the people who remained in the city and those who defected to him, with the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left in the land of Judah the poor people, who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time” (Jer 39:6-10 NKJV).
2 Kings 25:1-12 also records this avoidable tragedy of the fall of Judah, the captivity of her people and the associated loss of lives and properties and humiliation of Zedekiah and his family. All this happened because Zedekiah didn’t come to his senses; he persisted in stupidity against prophecy. Don’t act stupidly against genuine prophecy. There are other Bible characters like Zedekiah, who didn’t come to their senses and suffered for it. Your name shouldn’t be added to the list.
Come back to your right senses
Paul told the Corinthians, “Come back to your right senses and stop your sinful ways. I declare that some of you do not know God” (1 Cor 15:34 GNT). Do you know God or you’re an atheist or free-thinker who says there is no God? Psalm 14:1a and Psalm 53:1a say, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (NKJV). Those are not my words. That’s what the Bible says. According to Prov 28:26, “A man is a fool to trust himself! But those who use God’s wisdom are safe” (TLB). If you’re in this category, you need to come to your senses now!
King Manasseh was in the same category as these people Paul said didn’t know God. But, as I’ve said, while in captivity in Babylon, “Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God” (2 Chron 33:13 KJV). Not until he suffered in Babylon did he know that the Lord was God.
Why did God dethrone Nebuchadnezzar and turn him to a beast for seven seasons? Because he didn’t know God the Most High ruled in the kingdom of men and gives it to whoever he chooses to give (Dan 4:25). Having failed to realize that God put him on the throne and was not there by his own power, he was living in sin not showing mercy to the poor (verse 27). But in contrast, Cyrus knew God gave him the kingdom of the earth to rule (Ezra 1:2).
Nebuchadnezzar said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30 NKJV). That was stupidity! While he was still boasting, he was dethroned and driven to the forest to live like animal with other animals until his tenure in the forest was over and his sense (understanding) was restored to him. When he came back to his senses, he started praising the Lord and extolling his honour. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (verse 37 NKJV). Come to your senses now!
The Lord said to the nation of Judah, “Shameless nation, come to your senses before you are driven away like a chaff blown by the wind, before the burning anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day when he shows his fury” (Zeph 2:1-2 GNT). Humility is key to coming back to your senses – only the humble will turn to the Lord. You need to humble yourself, quit your sin, return to the Lord and begin to obey him before it is too late. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Cor 6:17 NKJV).
That was what the prodigal son did – he left the piggery (uncleanliness) and returned home to his father who gladly received him. “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor 6:18 KJV). Because the son returned to the father, the father could show the son the love of a father. But when he stayed far away from his father, he could not enjoy the love of his father. The prodigal son’s father welcomed him back home and received him. Return to God and He’ll return to you (Zech 1:3; Hosea 14:1; Joel 2:12; Jer 4:1; Neh 1:9; Mal 3:7). If you’ll come to God the Father today, you’ll become His son, and He’ll become your Father. Come to your senses now! Don’t delay further.
Don’t wait for sufferings to teach you a lesson before you repent. Don’t learn by afflictions; learn by instructions! Let the Word of God be your best teacher; don’t let your negative experience of punishment for your disobedience be your teacher.
Psalm 2:10 says, “Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth!” (NLT) Other translations render the phrase act wisely as be wise. The New American Bible Revised Edition renders it “come to your senses.” In other words, stop behaving stupidly; repent of your sinful, stupid ways and return to the Lord. Lam 3:27 says, “And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of his discipline” (NLT). Don’t grow old in error; devote yourself to living right while you’re young. But if you’ve stayed long in error, don’t persist – quit. There is hope for you. It’s better late than never. Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21; Rom 10:13). Come to your senses now!
Act before it’s too late
May be you gave your life to Jesus in the past but you’ve since turned back; come back to your senses now. Return to the Lord. Perhaps you’ve never given your heart to Jesus; come to your senses now! Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Turn to the Lord – he is your maker. Joel 2:12 makes it clear that there is a limited time within which one can return to the Lord or turn to the Lord. The door will not be left open forever. There is a time when it will be too late to come to your senses. “Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts” (Joel 2:12a NLT). A time will come when there will be no time! Repent of all your stupid behavior; repent of your sin. Return to the Lord. Come to your senses now!
Conclusion: “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Eph 5:15-17 NLT). Examine your life, and identify where and how you’ve been living your life stupidly as regards your salvation, marriage, family, finances, business, career, relationships, ministry, etc. For how long will you continue on the wrong path? Come to your senses now and take the right steps before it’s too late. Stop doing foolishly (Num 12:11; 1 Sam 13:13; 2 Chron 16:9); behave yourself wisely (1 Sam 18:14, 30).
If you’re not born again and you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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