The Prodigal Son is a parable we know and have heard countless times. Last night, the lesson from The River helped bring it to my attention in a new light. There was a specific aspect of the story I had never seen: the son was still a son and was not made a servant.
When we, as the younger son, screw up, our Father, who is rich in mercy, does not scold us for running away but welcomes us home. God does not see us in our mistakes when we are His children. When we go off after something and, after realizing its true form, come back, we are not made servants like we deserve but are honored as sons and daughters. When we are in that place of lukewarmness and in love with the world and all the things it has to offer, we are reminded of the promises and character of God, just as the son was reminded of his father.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:Ephesians 2:4-6
Our God is rich in mercy and slow to anger. When we feel unworthy of being called God’s chosen (John 13:18, 15:16), He reminds us that we are His. He does not mind if we slip up but runs to us with open arms when we repent and return. It does not matter how far we’ve fallen or how much we’ve ignored Him. Lately, I have been reminded that God is not upset when I talk to Him. He does not find me annoying or desperate. In fact, He wishes for my unceasing pursuit of HIm. He sees us as His fearfully and wonderfully made masterpiece. We see ourselves through a foggy dim glass. When we become starved because we have relied on the world for food, He tenderly reminds us that He alone is the bread of life. If we eat of His Word, we never hunger again.
The Father calls us to sonship, not servitude. He reminds us that all that is His is ours, and what we lack, He will provide. We, as His children, also have the ability to come before the throne and ask anything in the name of Jesus. We can come boldly before the throne as a child of God, bought and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, our perfect Passover Lamb.
But, we must not forget…
Do not be the older brother who is unforgiving or holds a grudge toward his younger brother. I love how the Father shows patience and tender loving-kindness. We are not to be self-righteous in our relationships with fellow believers. In John 17, Jesus prays for His disciples and those of us to come after saying that He wishes for us to be one.
Now for those who have felt like the prodigal son, I want to remind you that our Father, who is rich in mercy, has promised to send the Comforter. Read these as you close:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.John 14:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:John 15:26
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.John 16:7-14