TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The prodigal son

 The question used to plague me, “If the prodigal’s father represented God, how could the son ever leave and live a reckless life? What caused such a travesty to the family’s honor and the loss of the family’s wealth? Was the father partially to blame? Why couldn’t the father raise his son so as to keep him from falling into shameful prodigality?”

In the parable, the father does represent the Godhead. He represents Jesus, “Wonderful, Counsellor,...The everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6), and  “God” the “Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6).

Was the father at fault in the story? Has God sinned or ever needed correction for His work of bringing His children to salvation?

“God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19).
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” (1Sam. 15:29).
“I am the LORD, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6).
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8).
“O My people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against Me.” (Mic. 6:3).
“Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” (Jn. 8:46). In all of His dealing with sinners, God never had done anything amiss.

Then how did the younger son turn out like he did? Let us consider the third party present in the scenario—the older brother. If the youngest represented the backsliding sinner, who did the elder represent? I’ve heard that he represented the religious leaders and people of Christ’s day. In the story, the older son was hard-hearted, peeved at the restoration of a prodigal, lost soul; he was alienated from his father’s heart, but claimed the rights to the family fortune; he was easily annoyed, filled with anger and hate, and easy to complain and grumble. We do know that from the start of the nation all of these traits manifested themselves, and caused the Lord to repent of delivering Israel and calling them His own.

All this is undeniable, but, can we put the full representation of the elder son upon the Jews? The Lord didn’t. Yes, He blasted their self righteous self-centeredness and self-ingratiating ways in the wilderness, but He kept the people. He hates sin but loves the sinner. He said to Himself, “They know not what they do. They don’t see that the force behind all of their recalcitrance is the tempter.”

Satan is the real evil one whom the prodigal’s brother represented, who drove Israel to murmur and complain about everything the Lord God gave them. Then, did he have something to do with the younger turning wild and destructive? I believe so.

The father established rules and boundaries in the home, he had the experience level for running the family farm and gave the orders for when to sow and when to harvest. But the older child resented the constant supervision of his father. He bristled at the lack of freedom forced upon him in his father’s house. He did what he was told but not from a willing spirit. His obedience came not from a loving relationship, but forced out of a heart of stone.

He looked obedient, but, in reality, he couldn’t obey. In all of his work for his father, his soul could only refuse total, perfect obedience. Rebellion went deep and made working for his father was a drudgery. The wrestling in his mind between the will to run away or to stay with his obligation, between looking good to society or being bad to his father, caused constant consternation and war-ravaging thoughts. He didn’t want to be there, but he had to be. He satisfied his inward hatred and anger by patting himself for his wonderful accomplishment of duty and his upstanding greatness of patient endurance in the face of rightfully due unhappiness and misery. And his brother, who couldn’t do anything right, gave him no consolation.

My bother can’t do anything right! He is the cause of all that torments me. Everything I tell him to do, I have to do all over again myself. He makes my work twice as burdensome.

“Give me that hoe, you good for nothing! This is how you use it! This is how you separate the tares from the wheat! This is how you bind the sheaves! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know anything? You’ll never learn! Get out of here; I’ll just do all of your work for you, since you don’t want to learn how to do it right! You never should have been born!”

The youngest had always looked up to his brother and those words cut deeply, but he completely believed it all. After a while of hearing all that, his brother’s every look and gesture resonated hatred, and communicated that the juvenile was worthless and unwanted. Eventually, his brother’s hateful ways were so inescapable from his mind that he even believed that he heard those sentiments and saw those looks from his father, too.  Thus, his own natural rebellion was developed until he said to himself, “If that’s the way they want to treat me, I’m leaving!”

The elder represented Satan and all who permit him to control them. He was the original destroyer from the beginning. Every member of the human race is born in the image of God; all have some measure of His character and all are susceptible to a relationship with Him. “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3). Whosoever will may come to Him.

“The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17). If it were not for Satan’s continual rampage of misconstruing the Father’s love and authority, God could woo all of His alienated children back to Him.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” (2Cor. 5:14).

“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:20,21).

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16).

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19). Many, not everyone. But while all won’t be saved, Ii believe all could have been; and were it not for Satan’s constant grumbling and perverting God’s perfect work of justice and mercy, all should have been saved. God sent His Son to save the whole world.

But Satan had dug in his right to existence through careful maneuvering and he manipulated the minds of God’s children, stealing their hearts and working his ugliness into their minds like he did to the elder son and tried to do with the younger. Satan’s determined refusal to let God save us is why the fires of hell are already prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). Their day is coming and they know it. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev. 12:12).

Nevertheless, the father won the war over his lost son, and God will win the war over us. “He that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30). And our Father has plenty of that. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33).
The parable of the prodigal son has blessed and encouraged many thousands since the Lord first told it and it’s still good for us today. If we read and meditate on it, it will change our vile hearts and make us like His glorious character. He will give us a mind to love God and to obey Him. He will save us and sanctify us, and Satan will not be able to take us out of His hand.

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