We all have made mistakes, we may have chosen a road that led to heartache and pain. We all know what it is to wake up one day and realize you have wandered so far away from who you truly are, or whom you were hoping to be, and it seems you are lost and unable to be found. We know the agony and the yearning for the lost child. Hoping beyond hope for another chance to get it right. Another chance to start over.
Most of you have heard the story of the prodigal son, if you are one of the few that haven’t, do yourself a favor and read Luke 15:11-32. Today I want to talk about the prodigal son you didn’t know. The word Prodigal means someone who spends money or resources freely and recklessly; being wastefully or extravagant. In this story of the prodigal son, the young son goes up to his father and said father, give me my share of the inheritance that is owed to me.
Luke 15:12 (NKJV)
12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.
Now in Jewish culture, the oldest son would have gotten a double portion of everything his father had, the oldest son would have gotten 2/3 and the younger son would have gotten 1/3.
Normally you would get an inheritance when the father dies. So, this son basically goes up to his father and says I wish you were dead. I wish you would die so I can get the money I’m owed. You know, for some of us this story becomes instantly relatable, have you ever been on the receiving end of those words, or have your son or our daughter ever said I wish you were dead! Did tension get so strong and they were so angry that you heard them say I wish you were dead, or maybe as a young man or woman you were the ones that said I wish you were dead to your parents.
That is devastating for a parent to hear those words.
So, what does the father do? He takes a 1/3 of the property, a 1/3 of his livestock, and a 1/3 of everything he had and sold it and gives it to the youngest son. And he did it relatively quickly. Imagine the guilt the father was going through.
Sometimes our guilt makes us do things we know are wrong for our children, but because we are carrying so much guilt, we give in. That father sold 1/3 of everything and gave it to his son.
Luke 15:13 (NIV)
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...
Notice: he went to another country and squandered all his inheritance. So, this guy goes and blows everything in a far-off land, he goes far enough that no one could see what he is doing. Let me put this in today’s perspective, it’s like you jumping on a plane to Las Vegas to gamble, make new friends, drink all the liquor you want, and have your way with prostitutes. That’s essentially what this prodigal son did.
Luke 15:14-16 (NIV)
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.
And all of a sudden, he finds himself doing the most degrading job a Jewish boy can do, taking care of pigs. Not only that but he was also envious of the pigs because they had food to eat. He goes quickly from the penthouse to the outhouse. So, the question is, what was the prodigal son really doing, what was he after, and what was he thinking?
Well, he thought that happiness and contentment were found in having the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He thought that not having to answer to anyone and being his own man and doing the things he wanted would lead to happiness and contentment and lead a life of fulfillment.
So, He Rebels, he rebels against his father, rebels against his family, rebels against his culture, and rebels against God. He thought that by rebelling he would find freedom, and he would find happiness. We all at one time or another have been that rebellious son or daughter.
Can you see yourself in the story?
How did you rebel, did you ever tell your parents I wish you with dead? or say as soon as I can I’m getting out here, I’m leaving this house. I want to be my own man or my own woman, I want to do things my way, I want to learn things on my own, I don’t want to have to answer to anyone.
So, the prodigal son comes to his senses he thinks about how many of his father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here he is dying of hunger! So, He gets up and heads back home. While still far away, his father sees him and runs to him and fell on his neck and kisses him. The son says, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.
In those times, it was undignified for a man of the father’s stature to pull up his robe and run. The father tells his servants to put on his son the best robe and to put on the ring with the family seal. What the father was doing was re-establishing his youngest son back to his place of honor within the family.
The oldest son was working the fields, he heard music and asked a servant what was going on. The servant says, “your brother has come back home” and your father has killed a fattened calf to celebrate your brother’s return.
The older brother had an unforgiving heart, He was angry, he said each night I come from the field tired, sweaty, and sore. Probably also said I have taken care of my father day and night, I have worked the farm, do the chores, and what do I get? More work! He tells his father “All these years I served you.” he doesn’t say “All these years I loved and honored you. He may as well have said: “All these years I have been your indentured slave.”
It gets worse “and not once did I disobey your ORDERS.” That’s how he viewed his Father son relationship. This self-righteous son doesn’t even realize what he is saying, He has no idea that his father didn’t want his obedience or his service, He just wanted his love. He just wanted him to be in a relationship with him.
Do you see yourself in this story now?
Have you been overlooked at your job, overlooked at home or maybe you felt overlooked at church? Have you ever felt like you come to church, pray, you pay your tithes (not give), and come to every service. But here comes this brother into the church and all of a sudden, he collects the offing, he’s on the praise and worship team, and when there’s a special service, he is given all the best jobs.
You say; How about me, when is my turn, I’ve done everything you asked of me, why am I overlooked. That’s the older brother, Look at the heart, he has a sense of entailment, and he won’t listen to his father.
God is like the father in this parable, looking and waiting for you. He is looking out for you and when He sees you walking up the road, He runs to you, He hugs you, He kisses you and He’s holding you tight. He tells the Angels to bring the very best for you. That’s our heavenly father, He only wants the best for us. So, which brother are you, are you the rebellious son or are you the self-righteous son?
Or are you the Father, with a lost Son or Daughter. Lost to the world, lost to drugs and alcohol. And you fear for their lives? You look out your window hoping to see them, hoping to once again hug them and kiss them. You cry and pray every night for their safe return.
How many times have you said, I need to turn them over to God, but that’s just lip service. They come home all drugged up and they ask you for some money and you give it to them, knowing thy they’re just going to buy drugs with it. But yet you are still giving in to them, you’re just an enabler. When you turn your child over to God, you turn them over 100%, don’t try to help God!
This prodigal son found himself in the most degrading place a Jewish boy could ever be in, but that’s what it took in order for him to find his way home.
God Bless, Israel