As those who recently spent time in Texas, I can at least say that I have seen the cattle on a thousand plains. And as those who raise financial support for a ministry, I can say that I have prayed this phrase countless times (mostly out of context) to remind my anxious soul that God always provides, for all that is on the earth is His! However, this past week, the Lord brought the phrase to mind in a different light.
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills, I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” Psalm 50:7-11.
In context, God offers the powerful imagery of owning the cattle on a thousand hills to rebuke His people who were quick to do due diligence to the letter of the ceremonial law while their hearts were far from Him. In essence, God says, “I don’t need your sacrifices of bulls; all the bulls are mine anyway. I want what only you can offer me: your dependence, your honor, your worship.”
In juxtaposition to the rote, heartless sacrifices offered by God’s children to their Father, the Spirit brought to remembrance a heartfelt sacrifice from an unimaginably generous and forgiving father on behalf of His child.
But the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:22-24.
I am certain that the father did not consider it lavish to sacrifice the fattened calf to celebrate his wayward son’s long-awaited, oft-cried over return. While the father from the Parable of the Prodigal Son gives us a window into the heart of God the Father, the Cross of Christ gives us a far more focused glimpse into the nature of our God.
The earthly father killed the fattened calf to celebrate the son’s return. Our heavenly father killed His obedient Son to enable a path for all the other wayward children to return. I imagined God thinking about the cattle on a thousand hills as possessions He would gladly give up to celebrate the return of more of His children.
The Cattle on a Thousand Hills
The cattle on a thousand hills-
All of them are mine.
I’ve no need to brand them-
I am their Maker Divine.
Yet, I’d gladly give them
Upon a thousand returns.
For a thousand more children,
My entire being years.
I’d slaughter every cattle,
But I already gave Myself.
To purchase their pardon,
I gave up all my wealth.
Like the generous father,
I’ve a robe to wrap them in;
I’ll cover them in my robes,
For I’ve covered all their sin.
A thousand thousand children
for a thousand thousand years;
This is my rightful reward
For all Golgotha’s tears.
The earthly father killed the fattened calf to celebrate the son’s return. Our heavenly father killed His obedient Son to enable a path for all the other wayward children to return.
I love this!! Thank you Aimee!!