The story of the two sons one which we today refer to as the story of the prodigal son is a very powerful illustration of the forgiveness of the Father and His compassion. We should, however, be conscious of certain things that are also pertinent in the account.
First of all the fact that the son who was received and celebrated first repented. He came to a realization of what it meant to live outside His father’s presence. The Bible recalls he came to himself and said even the hired servants in my father’s house have enough bread having to spare that I feed with swines here. He walked back to his Father having realized the consequence of sin and a life of disobedience, saying I have sinned against my father and heaven.
It wasn’t that the father was angry at his son and sent agents to punish him for leaving him, it is that a life in sin does have consequences. Apostle James said sin when it is finished bringeth forth death. It was sin and not God that rendered man naked in the garden.
The Father who never stopped loving his son and whose heart was obviously always with his son never once sent substance to the son to try to help him. The father understood his son needed to go through the process to come to know what being in fellowship with him meant. The father always loved the boy through the process but it took the boy coming to himself and then going back to experience fellowship.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
The boy only experienced the party when he came back to his father even though the father always loved him. Allowing the son to go through the process of knowing what it meant to live outside his presence in a life of disobedience was part of the father’s love for his son. I seriously doubt if that boy will have ever again entertained the idea of walking away from his father.
His love wasn’t just shown through the party but even in restraining himself from going to look for him even when the father knew this boy must be suffering out there. I mean we all agree the father always loved the son, why didn’t he seem to check up on him? Was he a control freak who only showed compassion when you came under his roof? To say the father only loved when the boy returned is to describe a conditional love.
Those who will preach true fellowship with the Father must also teach that repentance must precede it where one actually realizes the true privilege of being in fellowship with God and having the priceless treasure of receiving direction daily from Him.
Poju Oyemade is the senior Pastor of Christian Centre, Lagos. Find out more on www.pojuoyemade.org