Friday, March 28, 2014
March 28: A rebellious young man
Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will belong to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. After a few days, the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth with a wild lifestyle. Then after he had spent everything, a severe famine took place in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and worked for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs…” (Luke 15:11-15 NET)
According to Jewish traditions of the time, the younger son would receive half of what his older brother received, and though the inheritance was theirs, it was not legally theirs until their father had died. For the younger son to ask for his part of the inheritance while his father was alive was rebellious and rude, and revealed a love of the world, rather than God and family. When the father went ahead and gave the boy what he wanted, this is analogous to God allowing us to go ahead and make mistakes when we insist on doing things our way.
This story is about each one of us, about how we foolishly left our Father's house and chose to live a life that brought ruin and misery. The younger son in the story represents us at one time or another, and the father that was treated so unfairly is God, whom we rebelled against. We didn't want to follow God's ways, we thought He was too controlling, and were sure we didn't need Him. But after going our own way and doing what we pleased, we began to experience a life of misery and disgrace. The things we were sure would make us happy… did not. The friends we counted on deserted us, and Satan and demons began to have their way with us because we were unprotected.
In the story of the young man, he wasted all his inheritance and then found himself in a foreign land in the middle of a severe famine. The only job he could find was feeding pigs, which was one of the worst things a Jew could do because they were considered spiritually unclean. This shows what the devil wants to do to all of us; he wants to rob, deceive, enslave, and finally kill us both physically and spiritually.
Tomorrow we will finish this passage, but today’s lesson is that we need to avoid going against God and insisting on our own way—even when we’re convinced that it’s going to work. We need to trust in God, in His plan, and resist the tempting lies of the devil. God has the best possible life waiting for us, but only when we “trust and obey”… like the old hymn says.