I am growing in my trust of God more and more, because I know first and foremost that He loves me and that He is a good God. Full of grace and mercy!!!
I love the story of the prodigal son. There are so many awesome truths in it about God and how he relates to us. The prodigal asked for his inheritance, the Father gave it to him, probably knowing how he might choose to use it. He didn't say no and he didn't give him guidelines on how to spend it. Amazing! Then the son goes out leaves his generous loving dad and goes far away, parties, blows all his money, then experiences hardship, has to get a lowly job caring for pigs. The pigs were better fed than he was. It finally dawns on him, out of dire need, that perhaps he could go home and ask his dad for a job. He knew he screwed up and his dad should probably disown him, so of course all he could possibly ask for was to be a hired hand. So he heads home and the dad must have been watching and hoping his son would come because he saw him heading down the path to home from a distance. So he hiked up his robes and ran to greet his son. So thrilled to see him alive and well. He flung himself upon him and embraced and kissed him. Not once did he mention to his son his poor choices, nor did he lecture or reprimand him. NOT ONCE!! Isn't that amazing! The son was all prepared for it, but it never came. Instead the dad threw a huge party and gave his son his cignet ring (which resembles the Father's authority, his seal of approval and ability to make decisions in his name, so he was giving that over to his son, a symbolism for how God gives us Jesus own perfect righteousness and authority over the devil and to the kingdom) and his most dignified robes. (which is interesting because often in this day and age if a child had gone out and done all that the parent would be humiliated....I also think the robes are a picture of how God gives us robes of Christ's righteousness!) This father didn't care about his own status or how ridiculous it may look to others how much he loved his son and didn't care to point out his faults or disown him because of his foolishness. I just love this picture of the Father! Who wouldn't want a dad like Him?!!
He was just so happy his son was home. How do you think the father/son relaltionship was after this? Do you think the son was confused as to why he didn't get in any trouble or have any consequences? Do you think he began to want to know his dad and be with him?
Then there's the part of the story of the older brother, which I never looked at fully before. The older son finds out that his brother is back and dad is throwing a party for him with the fatted calf (which is apparently significant in that culture, far more than we understand). The brother gets pretty ticked off. He refused to celebrate with everyone over the return of his brother. But the father approached him and asked him what was going on. He gets quite indignant, and says how he has been serving his father faithfully all these years and never disobeyed him and yet dad never even gave him a goat to celebrate with his friends. He goes on to say how his brother went off and squandered his money on prostitutes and yet dad throws him a big party.
Then the loving dad tells him that he has always been with him and all that is his(the dad's) is his(the son's) -back up, remember the beginning of the parable when the dad divided his property between the sons- the dad gave them both equal share and the one son blew it all, and the other son carried on like he never got it at all - anyway, he goes on to say your brother was dead and now is alive and once was lost and now is found.
I think the father may have thought his younger son may never return, who knows how he mourned for him. He never stopped loving him or wanting him. But the same thing with the older brother, he was always with him but chose to remain as a servant instead of viewing his dad as a generous loving dad, he just "served" and "obeyed" him.
It is an interesting contrast between the two brothers, is in not? The one only cared about his passions, and the other only knew how to be dutiful or religious. Neither one understood how much their dad loved them. But both were important to him. I think it is the prodigal who stood a better chance of gaining an understanding of his love though, because he knew he screwed up and didn't deserve the treatment his dad gave him. He probably was in shock and hopefully amazed by his lavishly gracious dad. Whereas the older brother thought he had to live a certain way, I mean after all he was doing it all right. He was angry that his brother got better treatment, when all along he could have been enjoying his part of the inheritance, but he never did. He somehow thought he could earn his father's favor, or he should have received it because of how he chose to serve and obey his dad. But you know what, I think the dad just wanted a son to be in relationship with. He already had servants. Anyway, that is my long drawn out version of this parable and I am sure there are more things that can be drawn from it. I just love this parable, I never get tired of hearing/reading it. The father portrayed here is so loving and so constant!! At times I have filled the shoes of each son, the prodigal and the older brother. I am so grateful that my Father loves me the same no matter what and he really just wants to be with me!!! Not only that but he has given me such a rich inheritance in him!!! Amazing!!