Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Lost and Found #4: The Prodigal Son

In this story that Jesus told, found in Luke 15:11-32,  are three major characters:  A loving, forgiving father, a prodigal son and his older bitter brother.  In this article we will concentrate our attention on the prodigal son. He certainly pictures a sinner repenting of his sins and coming to God.  I  believe, this son is also a picture of a Christian who has wandered away from God and destroyed his life in sin, but who repents and returns to His Heavenly Father and receives full forgiveness.


Note in vs 12 that he is willful.  He demanded that his father immediately give him his full inheritance.  It was as though he wished his father dead. He demanded his independence.  He demanded what he considered his rights.  He demanded freedom from the restrictions of his father.


His father wisely and lovingly gave in to his demands, gave him his inheritance and let him go.  That is a fearful situation in which to find yourself.   God did that for rebellious Israel in their wilderness journey to Canaan.  Psalm 105:15 says, “He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their souls.” God will give you your freedom also to run from Him and allow you to suffer the consequences.  Running from God always appears as freedom, but it always ends in bondage and misery.


Note in vs 13 that this prodigal son wandered as far as he could get from home. He wanted to be totally free to live life recklessly with no restrictions.  He’s like the sky diver who jumps and is exhilarated by his freedom until he discovers he has no parachute.


He acts totally unaware that he must face God for his ungodly living. King Solomon wrote to young people about this kind of reckless living in Ecclesiastes 11:9 through 12:1, a sobering passage for every young person to read and ponder.


Luke 15:13 also tells us that he wasted his life in riotous living, such as many young people celebrate on their infamous spring breaks.


God gives us gifts to enjoy and use for His glory.  Sinful man perverts and wastes those gifts.  He turns hunger to gluttony,  thirst to drunkenness,  the gift of sight  and affection to lust and sexual orgies. The gift of our mind can be used for God’s glory, or it can become the object of our worship.  The gift of time and energy can be wasted on self interests.


Satan is always pleased when churches are not fulfilling God’s will; the evangelization of the world and the edification of believers.  We are wasting our time, energy and resources when, regardless of our activity, we ignore these core reasons for our existence.


The prodigal son, verse 14 tells us,  soon came to want. Waste always leads to want.


According to Psalm 34:10 those who seek God’s will never lack anything, Psalm 23 promises us that if the Lord is our Shepherd, we will lack nothing. On the other hand,  those who go their own way, wasting God’s gifts soon come to want.   The husks of this world do not satisfy.  The road of self-will leads to the garbage dump of sin and desperation. Proverbs 13:15 warns that “the way of the transgressor is hard.”


It wasn’t long before he found himself a slave of the world, feeding pigs; one of the most offensive jobs a Jew could ever imagine doing.   We cannot escape slavery. Romans 6:12-23 teaches that each of us finds ourselves serving a master.  We either serve our loving Master, the Lord Jesus, or else we find ourselves as slaves of Satan.


This prodigal son soon found himself starving. No man would help him.  Ultimately he was forced to share the pigs feeding trough and I’m sure he had to fight the pigs for anything he got.  What a contrast to the way God provides for those who love Him,  as shown in Psalm 103:1-5


Note, The father was not out in the far country seeking for him. He left him alone to allow his life of rebellion to run its course and for his wayward son  to get his fill of the pig slop and the loneliness and misery of his choice.  All the time he was praying for his son and  watching for any trace of his homecoming.  God does not force us to live surrendered to Him, but He controls our circumstances to bring us to desperation and back to Him.


Gradually the prodigal son was awakened  by his God-given dissatisfaction.  The Bible says “he came to himself”. He was coming to his senses.  As he was coming back to his father, a picture of God; he was coming to himself, realizing that he was made to live for God. That’s repentance!


Humble and broken, he sensed his utter unworthiness to receive anything from God. He determined to return home and make a full confession, making no excuses for his sin.  There in that far country, he formulated his confession.  In Luke 15: 18-19 we read the words that he determined to say to his father. “Father, I have sinned against God and against you, and I am not worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”

  Then he began the long journey home.  We’ll discuss the homecoming next time. Just a hint of what lay ahead,  He never got a chance to complete the confession he had formulated in his mind.

August 22, 2007 - Posted by | LOST and FOUND

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