Thursday, 2 July 2020

The Prodigal Son

Scripture:  Luke 15 v 13 - 19: "And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."

The story of the Prodigal Son portrays what happens to us spiritually when we "do our own thing" and live independent of God's Word.  Not only the Bible but His specific word to every one who has made a born again commitment to Him.

If we have chosen to live our own life without heeding the infallible Word, or resisting a calling upon our hearts we spiritually depart to a far away place, and when we have come to an end of all we once held dear, we begin to hunger.  Not for food on a plate, but for Jesus Himself, our Bread of Life.

Sometimes our stubborn pride coupled with shame keeps us feeding those swine until we come to complete humility and brokenness.  When the emptiness overwhelms us there is only one direction left to travel, back to our Father.

We expect to be servants to Him, under condemnation even, but He elevates us back to Sonship (or Daughtership) by clothing us with love and dignity, and giving us the Lamb.  He knows our every need and we have learned that the world is an unkind place without Jesus.

As Watchman Nee puts it, "But the works of the Law, even our best efforts, are “dead works,” hateful to God because ineffectual. In the parable both sons were equally far removed from the joys of the father’s house. 

True, the elder son was not in the far country, yet he was only at home in theory. “These many years do I serve thee, and yet . . .” (Luke 15:29)—his heart had not found rest. His theoretical position could never, as did the prodigal’s, come to be enjoyed by him while he still clung to his own good works.

The younger son was all wrong, but he came home, and he found rest—and that is where Christian life begins. “God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4, 6). “It was meet to make merry and be glad!” (Luke 15:32)."

When we depart as prodigals we are like Adam and Eve being expelled from Eden to work and farm by the sweat of our brow.  In Eden it was all given by God.  Outside its got the Law written all over it.  Rules and regulations that cost us freedom if we break them.

Let us rather go through the trials of the prodigal son and learn valuable lessons plus be received back into the Father's bosom, than be the elder brother, complacent and selfish yet spiritually unfulfilled....You never killed a fatted calf for me!  

There was no true repentance in the older brother because of self-righteousness.  So he never had real fellowship with Jesus, but did  know when his brother returned that he had found that elusive unity with God that was missing in his own experience.  Matthew 7 v 14: "Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

We may find salvation and the fullness of the Holy Spirit, even as the older brother had, but that closeness that John, Peter and James had with Jesus, was above what the rest of the twelve had with Him.  The strait gate is discipline, the narrow way is holiness, we need to press into God with seeking hearts to truly know it.

The Father said to the elder son, everything I have is yours, but your brother was lost, dead to us, and now he is alive again, worthy of joy and blessing.  The Prodigal found the true life by seeing how depraved and worthless he had become, and what he had lost, and he had the courage and determination to make that hard journey home.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are many of both types of brothers in need of different kinds of ministry, healing and deliverance.  Open our eyes to those who need whatever gifts or prayer or just love to draw them back to You.  In Jesus' name. Amen.