Sunday, September 25, 2011

"A funny thing happened on the way to the hog lot"

Scripture Reference: Luke 15: 11- 24

In the Book of St. Luke chapter 15 we find Christ Jesus explaining to His Disciples in the form of stories of people that had lost things to the world. In this one particular story we find that one son did what was right and one son did that which was wrong and paid the price thereof. The question I would like to ask is how did one of the young men find his way into the hog lot and eating what the hogs ate? There are a lot of possible reasons for the young man’s demise and it would pay us to look closely at some of these reasons.

“And he said; a certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, 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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 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: make me as one of thy hired servants. 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. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Luke 15:11-24 KJV

I believe one possible reason of separation from the boy’s family could have been youthful exuberance. Without any experiences of this world, he possibly believed he has a better idea of how things should be done- a different way of approaching things than that of his Father. This is atypical of most all young men; I am speaking from my own experiences. His arrogance and pride has proved him to be sort of bullet proof saying often around others – “hey ya'll watch this!” There was the possibility of some insubordination due to the fact that he insisted on leaving and asked to have what was coming to him handed to him as soon as possible. He was impertinent in demanding these request be filled as to get as far away from home as soon as he could. I feel he was somewhat arrogant due to social status while all along riding on his father's coat-tail. One important point was for sure the boy was his father’s son and desired to show the world what he could do. There was also the possibility of some father/ son competition being played out on the farm.

Even though the young man left with his father's blessing and consent, he was acting upon the permissive will of God instead of the perfect will of God. On one hand and as I see things, there is also a spiritual war going on in the spirit world simultaneously for this young man and us alike for his eternal soul. No doubt Satan has been working long and hard on this young man to the point of breaking someone’s heart in the process. Satan does not care in the slightest that heart he breaks as long as he gets that eternal soul he is pursuing. The dissention of God’s will for this young man’s life began with the rebellious attitude towards God’s will for his life. With God’s permissive will he left home and started the decent out of God’s will by appeasing his flesh with riotous living. In verses 13, 14, and 15, we see the quagmire the young man found himself in to the point of stopping and having to address the situation. In short, he had come to the end of the road of choices, or had he?

“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. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.” Luke 15:13-15 KJV

One point I would like to make here is that God knows how to stop us in our tracks. No doubt this is a very bad situation the young man found himself in but, it could get a lot worse if he is persistent in moving on with his own demise. Hypothetically speaking, God could start breaking bones to slow him down even further. Or, some dreaded disease would land him in the bed of sickness just so he would be forced to stare at the ceiling looking up to God. The LORD will employ all sorts of ways and means in which to get our attention and face him with questions in which he is gracious enough to answer. This is the example of the exhibit of grace that God uses to bring us into a position in which we are forced to deal with it. The situation cannot be pushed aside any longer at this point. On the other hand, the LORD God knew of the youthful stubbornness of the young man and allowed him to have the experience in his life that would bring about change of mind through worldly experiences. I found out personally that some experiences are too costly to venture into after the fact. In all of our trials and troubles in life I feel the real purpose for God's permissive will is to teach us all just what unmerited favour really means. I believe, in the end of it all, we will have experienced the wonderful Grace of God and have a good understanding of what it entails. Many of us bear the scars of sin and rebellion of years gone by but God is gracious enough to wait out our wild oats sowing days. Trust me when I say that time is on God’s side but very little time is on our side. There is a price to pay for rebellion but God desires that all that travel that path gets tired of the spiritual resistance against their wicked ways to the point of giving up out of exhaustion. In verses 17 – 24 the young man no doubt experienced what grace was all about when he found his very own father hugging him like a lost sheep that was found. There were many tears of joy and gladness shed that day because the boy, through untold hardship, had found his way back home through the providential care of God. A fact is it isn’t God’s will that any of us should perish but come to repentance. I remember that old and beautiful church hymnal song, “The Ninety and Nine”, coming into play in my mind right now. Praise the LORD for the unspeakable gift of grace!

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