The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the 1930s that resulted in a famine in the land, where food, work and money were scarce. Sometimes it is impossible to appreciate what you have until it’s gone. For instance, if you were unable to see colour all of a sudden, you would value even the memory of it, or if you were unable to taste food for some reason, how you would long to experience flavour!
Another word for famine is ‘want’, ‘scarcity’ or ‘starvation’. These words help us to appreciate the desperate situation the young son in Luke 15 found himself in. Despite being part of a family with a father who obviously loved and cared for him, the son defiantly rejected his father’s authority and selfishly demanded his inheritance in order to live life his way. Amazingly, the father honoured his request.
It didn’t take long for the young man to come into reality about his circumstances, however, because, just when he ran out of money, a severe famine fell upon the whole country. Verse 17 speaks volumes! ‘When he came to his senses he said. “How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!”’
Reality for this son meant he could now see all that he once had: the food, the family and the secure position in his father’s house. This son was lost because of his own choices, not because of the famine. The famine opened his eyes to his great need and was the catalyst that turned him back to his father. The sandals, the ring and robe, and even the fattened calf, were always available, but his rebellion had blinded him.
Be careful not to judge this lost son, or you will be like his older brother who could not see past his younger sibling’s sin, due to his own offended heart. The watchful father in this story remains the same throughout, steady and lovingly focussed on his son, not the sin.
The Son who is telling this story in Luke 15 is Jesus Christ, God’s one and only begotten Son, who was given as a ransom to purchase every son and daughter who has blindly chosen to go their own way. Whether they threw away the sandals and ring to follow the seduction of the world, or are blind to the truth of the Gospel, God is intently watching and waiting with His arms wide open, ready and willing to welcome His sons and daughters home.
If this is you today, I can guarantee, according to this scripture, that you are welcome to come home to your Father. Maybe you know a son or daughter who is lost in the world, or has thrown away their ring. Don’t give up praying for them. You could even ask God to send a famine into their lives, not to harm them, but to help them come to their senses.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your steadfast character which never changes. I was once a rebellious child who left her father’s home to live life my own way and yet You were always lovingly watching and waiting. Thank You for the famine that You either used, or sent, into my life, which caused me to see my great need. I cannot fathom where I would be today if You had not rescued me. Father, please call Your lost sons and daughters to come home. Help us not to be like the older brother, judgemental and offended. Give us Your eyes to see the precious child, the treasure, the pearl that You paid such a high price for. In Jesus’ powerful name, I pray. Amen.
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