Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active. I love when I hear a teaching on God’s Word that makes me realize this all over again. It is such a beautiful thing to ponder when God uses an anointed teacher to reveal His truth in a fresh new way.
We all know the story of the prodigal son. In fact, it may have become boring, common, predictable, and just so much yada yada yada to our ears. I heard Troy Murphy, Chaplain for the Green Bay Packers, speak recently on the scriptures found in Luke 15:11-32, and God used his words to rock my world. I’ll give you one highlight, but it’s definitely worth watching the whole sermon here.
We have the two sons to consider, the prodigal son and the older brother.
Think about this: when the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, we see no mention that the father argued with him, or told him what a mistake he was making. He gave his son the inheritance. In the same way, God won’t disrupt our wandering. We don’t have to go off the deep end to be a prodigal. In fact, we all could be prodigals in some way. A prodigal is not necessarily a desperate, horrible sinner, but someone who wants to pick and choose what he wants from the Father, and then live life on his own terms.
The older son is the obedient one, but boy oh boy does he have an attitude problem! I’ve done this for you. I’ve done that for you, and you’ve never done ___________ for me! This self righteous attitude says I want something from God, but I have to do something to earn it. Then, God will OWE ME.
If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that we are all both prodigals and older sons at some point. Both are dangerous places to live, but in a sense, the prodigal is actually more desirable than being the know-it-all-do-good-live-by-the-rules son.
Why? Because of verse 17: “When he came to his senses...”
The Bible says the prodigal son came to his senses and ran back to the father, and we see that the older son remained bitter and refused to join in the celebration. Sadly, we see so many Christians choosing to be the older son, even when they witness the compassionate heart of the Father welcoming a prodigal back home. It makes my heart sad for them.
And then I think of all the prodigals wandering the earth, experiencing hardships that may lead them to that point of coming to their senses, and it makes me so happy we have a father who will celebrate us when we come to our senses and run back into his arms!
Luke 15:11-32 New International Version (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Son
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “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! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”