As I listened to the song “Now Behold the Lamb” I was reminded of the continued love and grace of our Father, God.
Many know of the biblical account of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Here, the youngest son asked the father to divide the inheritance early. This son wanted what he considered his due before the father passed away. Normally, an inheritance is not divvied out until after the owner of the estate is deceased. However, this son desired his share while the father was still alive. I can’t imagine what the father thought of this son asking for something he had not worked for, had not saved for, and had not contributed to, but I can assure you that the custom was not to “pay out” early. The father divided the estate between the two sons.
In the text we are told that the younger son “squandered his wealth in wild living” (NIV).
Prodigal literally means wasteful, reckless, and uncontrolled. In his zest to have all he
wanted right now, in his state of recklessness, he failed to plan for the future. When the
famine hit the land, he had nothing and had to obtain work feeding pigs. He was in such bad
shape and was so hungry he desired the slop the pigs were eating. He went from the palace
to the pigpen!
The turning point: This son, while completing his duties as a hired servant, realized that his
father had servants who lived in abundance. He set in his mind that he would return to his
father, repent, accept that he didn’t deserve to be called “son” any longer, and he figured he
could at least be as a hired servant.
The journey: While this son was on his way home, I am sure he contemplated turning back
and continuing to work with the pigs rather than face the ridicule, anger, or rejection of his
countrymen and father. I am sure he had doubts and fears.
Verse 20 indicates that the father of this wayward and selfish child saw him “a long way
off,” and was “filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him
and kissed him” (NIV).
How often have we demanded what we thought we deserved from God? How many times
have we pouted because things did not go the way we planned? How many times have we
resisted and rebelled against God as if our disobedience was going to change his mind? I
am sure countless times we have behaved as selfish and wayward children of God. We
have demanded what we have not worked for. We have expected to reap where we have not
sown. And in our utter disappointment, when the pieces did not fall into place, we have left
God armed with our material possessions and pride to a country afar off.
Just like this prodigal son, we need to come to ourselves and realize who we are in the
Kingdom. This natural son knew his father was wealthy and even if he were treated as
a servant, he would live in wealth and overflow, for his father’s servants had “food to
spare”. We, too, should understand that God has gifts, callings, blessings, and provision in
abundance, and there is no need for us to live lacking.
Getting it right: The son knew that in order to return to his father, he had to first admit his
fault. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to admit fault or wrongdoing. But, until we
do, we are not in right standing with God. Repent of your wrongdoing, of your sin, of your
disobedience, and of your rebellion, and return to the place of abundance and overflow in
Though the son in this story had done wrong, the father accepted him lovingly and graciously
upon his return. This is the reception our heavenly father has for those who return to him.
Just as the father in this account clothed his son with “the best robe,” and he put a ring on his
finger along with sandals, God wants to clothe us in His righteousness and shower upon us the abundant blessings that he has stored up for his children. Just as the servants, family, and friends celebrated when this prodigal son returned home, God, the angels, and saints will celebrate the return of a backslider or wayward person.
The fattest calf is ready for you. The table is spread. The feast of the Lord is going on.
Won’t you join us? There is no sin that God can’t forgive. There is no action you have
taken that has caught him by surprise. Won’t you come back to the Father, who continues
to wait on you? You don’t have to remain on the outskirts of a relationship with God. He
desires the best for you.
Leave the state of prodigal; leave the area of wastefulness, recklessness, and uncontrolled living and walk into the promise.