The Father of the Prodigal Son
Many Christians are familiar with the story of the prodigal son, who desired his inheritance, and left home to go to a far country where he squandered all his money on worldly things When famine came he was in great want but he came to the end of himself, recognized his sin, repented and returned home.
Let us consider the father of the prodigal son. Certainly he must have been a man of much wealth and substance, for he had servants and riches…yet he possessed that most precious quality, unconditional love for his children. When the youngest son demanded his inheritance V12-13 “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” The father did not argue or deny but divided his living and gave to both sons. Perhaps the father thought that this might lead to disaster, but he used great wisdom. There comes a time when we must let our children go, and trust the Lord to care for them, chasten them, and bring them back to us again, not necessarily to live with us, but to be in harmony as a family. The father trusted the Lord to bring his son home again. Scripture bears no record that the father went after his son at all, but let him go.
The son did come to the end of himself, for a mighty famine arose in the land (where the son had gone). And the son was so desperate that he took a job that meant feeding swine which would have been a very humbling experience. V16 “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him”. It was at that point that he realized that there was more than enough at his Father’s house, and it was then he came to the end of himself and realized his sin…V18-19 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son:……” How many parents are facing this very thing? Their beloved children far from home, the parents not knowing where they are or how they are, just praying and trusting the Lord to watch over them, bring them to repentance, and restore the relationship.
Verse 20 is a wonderful, wonderful verse. “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.” Oh how this verse never fails to move one’s heart. We know that the father must have been daily watching for his son, for when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him. He might have been in tattered clothing and perhaps was filthy dirty from being with the swine. But was his father angry? Did he yell or say I told you so? No, this father had compassion. He did not wait for the son to come to him, he ran towards his son, hugged him (fell on his neck) and kissed him. What a joyous reunion that must have been. How thankful his heart must have been to have his prayers answered, and his son home again. Indeed he gave his son the best robe, not just any robe, and a ring and shoes, and ordered a fatted calf be killed for a feast, because this was cause for great celebration..
His son had acknowledged his sin against heaven and repented, he was lost to his father, but now he was found. V24 “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
We know that the father had another son who was very jealous of his brother who had returned home, and indeed, was very angry.. V28-30 “And he was angry, and would not go in (to the feast) therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this thy son (not he didn’t call him his brother) was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” We do not know what became of him, whether or not he forgave his brother and reunited with him as well, or whether he chose to leave home.. but one thing we do know…the father loved him too. (V31) “…Son thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” And then the father explains the reason for giving the feast for the returned son (V32) “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead (in sin) and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
Surely God sent the famine to provide the means to bring the son to the end of himself, for God is in control of all things. Proverbs 16: 9 “a man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
And so if today, if you have a child far away from you, never give up hope. Lift your child up to the Lord daily..