Summary: Looking at the familiar story called the "Prodigal Son"--consider the Father
The Picture of a Patient Father
* As I thought and prayed this week about our upcoming Revival effort & the need which I sense for a visit from the heaven through the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit, I was drawn to a familiar story in scripture. It is a story that Jesus told and it’s found in Luke 15 and is most commonly known as “The Prodigal Son”, however, we are going to read, visit, and linger over this story from a different point of view. Let’s read.
* One of the greatest works of art known to mankind is Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel. The colors and artistry were arguably stunning. However, I have been told that after many years those colors became dulled, losing their appeal. The question was, “What happened?” Did the paint lose it color by fading or what? Actually, it was the grime of time which occluded the view of the colors. After being cleaned, the work of art was returned to its previous glory.
* Most of us have witnessed this truth in our lives. We buy an automobile and it gets dirty, so we wash it. The colors on the siding of our house lose their brilliance and so we wash the siding and the colors come back.
* Of course we know that these colors were present all the time they were just covered over by the ‘grime of time.’
* This same truth is prevalent in our spiritual lives. We learn truth, develop godly lifestyles as we walk with God, and then allow the ‘grime of time’ the ‘wickedness of this world’ to gradually slip in covering our hot heart for God. The result is that sin of all sorts begin to slip into our lives & sadly, we can’t even see the beautiful colors any longer & don’t know it.
* In our scripture, we tend to focus on the youngest son, whose rebellion is totally chronicled, but tonight let’s pull back the grime & see the truth about the Father. Let’s do this in four parts.
1. The Hurt of the Father – Can you imagine how deeply the father in this story was hurt? Only a parent can empathize. They man had only 2 sons and parents love their kids. For all teenagers here – NO ONE LOVES YOU LIKE YOUR PARENTS! There is no friend you have that loves you as much as your parents. They would literally die for you. This father loved his boys and worked with them as they were probably adults. Can you fathom this father’s hurt when his baby boy came and basically said, “I don’t want to wait until you’re dead & gone, I want what’s coming to me & I want it NOW!” This is the epitome of rebellion and rejection. Don’t miss the truth that the father COULD have had many adverse reactions, but instead he responded like a loving father.
* From my observation, this young man (either consciously or un) drove a knife into the heart of his dad and, given the chance, would twist it. Yet, the father still loved the boy, gave him what he wanted, and then let him go. Can you imagine the emotions of the father on the night he left? It takes no imagination to conclude he cried over the boy’s attitude.
* If you have ever experienced or known someone who has experienced a child leaving home under these conditions, you know this hurt.
* Let’s change the direction of our thinking and ask, “Can you imagine how God felt when He walked through the Garden of Eden only to discover that His creation had taken what they wanted & walked away from Him? I submit that hurt is intensified when we fail to receive His offer of restoration through His Son. That hurt is extended when we come to Him by faith and then walk away in disobedience and get so far from Him that we cannot even see His truth in our lives.
2. The Hope of the Father – I suggest that from the very first day the boy was gone, dad began to pray for protection over his son. Possibly another thing the father prayed for was his son to COME TO HIS SENSES! Word of warning: “Be careful what you ask for.” Dad didn’t ask for a famine, poverty, and a pig-pen; he asked for the boy to come to his senses! This is where we need to be careful. When we ask God for something, He responds HIS WAY, not ours. The way to scrape back the grime of sin in our lives may well be to send us to the pig pen. “Your will be done” may well be the most dangerous prayer to pray, but it is also the most productive prayer. This father knew that God bringing his son to his knees would be far better than waiting for this world to put him on his back (and in the ground). Quite likely, dad prayed every day and then kept an eye on that long road in front of the house. He believed that God would bring the boy home and probably pre-lived in his mind the homecoming for which he desperately longed. Our heavenly father is saddened when His children rebel against Him and His plans for us. When we walk away, no matter how far, His desire is for us to come home. Notice that the Father didn’t go and “DRAG” the boy home, he allowed God to bring the boy to his senses. Here’s the take-away for us; When we walk away from the Father, He may well put us into a place of famine, poverty, loneliness, and even the pig pen of life attempting to help us ‘come to our senses.’ In my life the hope of the Father had been played out many times. Being the stubborn person that I am, he’s had to send me to the pig-pen more than once. Every time He does this, He stands on the front porch with His hands hooding His eyes, looking for me. I start to Him & He runs to me.