But he was angry and refused to go in. – Luke 15:28a
Every winter, we tapped trees to produce maple syrup on the farm. Forty gallons of sap produce one gallon of syrup. This requires a lot of boiling down. Near the end of the process, the syrup looked and tasted thick and delicious! The process, however, was not complete until my mother poured milk into the boiling syrup. I would watch, mesmerized, as scum surfaced. It formed a thick, globulous mass on top.
I would never have known there was so much scum in that delicious syrup if milk had not caused it to surface. The ugly exposure of scum, however, had a positive purpose. My mother could now remove the scum with a strainer, leaving a purer product.
We all have scum in our hearts that needs to surface. Because big brothers are typically “good church people,” however, that scum is usually harder to see and deal with. Sometimes our Father injects the milk of providential events into our lives to surface that scum. This is what happened to Big Brother in Luke 15.
What milk has our Father poured into your life to surface the issues and idols of your heart? What has he used to expose your self-righteousness, resentment, lack of love, sense of entitlement or thirst for human approval? Pray with the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for the ‘milk’ of providential events He pours into our lives to reveal our sin. Pray Psalm 139:23-24.
Rev. Richard Zekveld is the pastor of the Covenant Fellowship Church (PCA) in South Holland, Illinois, a Chicagoland suburb. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.