Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Parable of a Faithful Father

Luke 15:11-32: Please read this familiar passage while re-reading the highlighted verses.
11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 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. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal (wild) living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then 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 gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 But when he came to himself (his senses) , he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’
20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring (quickly) out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’
28 But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

Many call this the parable of the Lost Son or Prodigal Son. But it is more apt to call it the parable of the Faithful Father. Let us glean some valuable lessons from the scriptures.

         1. Prayer of Intensity
The passage does not describe the sighs, the groans, the sleepless nights of this Father. The passage does not describe the intercession this Father made on his son’s behalf. But we get a clue from v17 – when the son came to his senses – he did not come to his senses by himself. In the background there was intense prayer. There was a spiritual warfare going on in the heavenly realm for this son’s soul. Father never stopped interceding for his son till he saw him come back.
Application: Never ever stop praying for your loved one’s salvation till you see them in the Lord. Till they have breath in their nostrils there is hope for them. When we know that it is God’s will for “none to perish” we should keep on pressing till we see results. So if your friend or family must come to their senses, you must pray, pray and not stop.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Isa 50:2 Why was no one there when I came? Why was there no one to answer when I called?
Is My hand too short to redeem? Or do I have no power to deliver? Look, I dry up the sea by My rebuke; I turn the rivers into a wilderness; their fish rot because of lack of water and die of thirst.

2.Prayer of anticipation/expectation

V 20: But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him. He was not sitting in front of the TV and flipping channels, but he was anticipating that the son would come any day. That is why he was standing on the top – that is how he saw the son from far off.
We pray, we wrestle in prayer, but are we expecting great things from the Lord. In a church every one gathered to pray for rain. But only one little boy came to the prayer with umbrella. That my dear friends, is expectation. We pray with tears, we wrestle in prayer, but when answer comes, we are surprised. We should not be.

           3. Do not stand in the way of God
That Father was praying, was expecting, at the same time he gave full freedom to God, to deal with his son as He wished. He knew that his son was first God’s son to even begin with. God had to take that son so low – so low as to eat pig’s food – to bring him to his senses. We pray for salvation, we pray for repentance, but we ourselves stand in the way of God. Let God do his work. For God our soul is more important – because that’s what lives for eternity. Our trails are for momentary, light affliction. The following scriptures reveal how important it is for our soul to reach heaven.

Mark 9:43 -48  If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
      2 Corinthians 4:16-18  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet       inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an   eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.     

         4. Do not join yourself to people of this world
V 15: Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country. We are called to be priests. We are a holy nation separated unto the Lord. Swine is an abomination to the Jew, but he was joined with the world and did not realize it. Friendship with world is enmity to God.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
James 4:4 Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

5. Anger issue of the older son
V 28: But he was angry and would not go in. I am not writing much about the younger son as we have heard enough of him. We think he is the only bad one, but the older son was equally bad. The older son was with the Father, still bad. We can be in the church but still far from the Father. We can be a seasoned Christian, still not understand the love of the Father (his Father came out to meet him, just as he did for the younger son). He still cannot comprehend the compassion of the Father. The older son was not able to celebrate due to his angry. Anger steals us from the Joy of the Lord which is our very strength. If today, God is speaking to you, please get rid of the anger.

You may say – I am only angry against my mom, my dad, my mother in law, my spouse, but actually you’re angry against the Lord. Your anger will hinder answer to your prayers. It will not bring about the righteousness God seeks.

Gal 5:15   If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Plus the bible does not tell how the older son responded to the Father’s love – did he go inside or just leave. Let us enter our Father’s house and celebrate.

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