From the Pews to the Pig Sty
The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) Then 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 falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions withprodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still 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 to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here 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.
The story of the prodigal son has the power to evoke a range of emotions in a believer. Some may judge the prodigal and consider him to be ungrateful, evil, or even pity him as someone who is lower than the rest of humanity. Some will look at his sin and believe he was totally deserving to eat with the pigs due to his squandering what had been given to him by his Father.
But when we dissect the story of the prodigal son – we can see that the plot of this story was inevitable, even from the first sentence told by Jesus.
A certain man had two sons, and the younger requested that the father give him his portion of his inheritance so he would be able to use it right away. This was the first red flag that was waving in the wind to declare that a prodigal heart was going astray. We see that the joy of spending time with the Father has been replaced by the joy of what can be received in the Father’s kingdom. Some believers consider themselves to be “blessed” because of earthly possessions they have received from the Father. They don’t realize the blessings they consider important may actually be the sign of one who has prematurely claimed their inheritance and has begun to fall away from the true riches of the kingdom.
For many prodigals of today, the daily fellowship and intimacy of relationship between father and son (or daughter) is replaced with only requests and declarations made in His name. The things received or not received, become the relationship focus. They may even begin to look at other Christians and deem them to be less blessed if they haven’t chosen the same route of hoarding earthly treasures in the name of the Lord.
For many years of my life, I took dancing lessons. The teacher would explain to us that when dancing, the body will always follow their eyes. When making a turn, balance and direction are kept sure by focusing on a certain object. No matter the move the body makes, it will always line up with the object of focus of the eyes.
The prodigal son begins to focus his eyes outside of his father’s house. He begins to drift toward the object of his affection - with his inheritance in hand. For some, this may be drugs, alcohol or sex, and for others this may simply be earthly pleasures in any form. Television, the latest clothing, the newest fad, the best food, the neon lights of the world are blinking and the prodigal has his eyes focused on the desires of his own heart.
When the prodigal's heart is convicted that he should restore his relationship with his father, he must use the memories of yesterday to reassure himself that he is ok. For some Christians, they convince themselves they are saved because of a prayer they prayed long ago. For others, they were able to leave the father without even leaving His house. They stay in the church but the father is far from them. They remember times when the Father was close to them and are quick to tell the stories of yesterday. They deceive themselves because they hold in their hands their memories and their inheritance as their proof of sonship. They don’t realize that all the repetitive stories of intimacy were from long ago, and like a bad marriage, they have drifted away from their Father and have left their first love.
As the prodigal drifts further and further from the father and his home, he squanders his inheritance on earthly “riotous” living. The bible says we are to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven where it cannot be stolen, rusted or destroyed. (Matt 6:19-21). But the prodigal has laid up treasure on earth. True to the word of God, it doesn’t take long for the inheritance to be wasted. The enemy steals some of the inheritance and some of it is lost or misplaced. Some of it has become so devalued by applying heavenly principles to earthly living, that it is rusted and worthless.
At this time, the prodigal has nothing left from the Father to prop himself up with, it’s all been squandered. He is left only with the objects of his affection. His love of the world, drugs, alcohol, or sex are the only things left and it is only a matter of time until he realizes that he has been wasting his life. The memories of his relationship with his Father are so distant and faded by time, that even the repetitive stories of yesterday can barely be recalled.
Yes, the prodigal is now eating with the pigs in the pig sty. He lives with the pigs, eats their food, and has found there is no one in the pig sty who has compassion or cares for his soul. The tasty food, the wealth, the boyfriend, the alcohol or any other object of affection is no longer satisfying, it has now turned to gravel in his mouth.
But wait! Just as the flashing neon lights begin to shine the light on his true situation, the object of his affection begins to change. Just as the dancer focuses their eyes on an object and their body will gracefully follow – the prodigal begins to focus on the days with his father in his father’s house. The scripture says that he comes to himself. He wakes up as the veil of deception is ripped away.
If we love the things of the world, the love of the Father cannot be in us (1 John 2:15) – but now the heart of the prodigal cannot be persuaded by the things of the world anymore. He has eaten the fruit of that love and it wasn’t able to sustain or satisfy him.
The prodigal now comes to the realization that whatever the cost may be, he will humble himself and return to his father’s house. His desire to be with the father becomes so overwhelming, that he would be willing to give up any self-indulgence, just to be in the presence of his Father again. He forsakes his life and the desires of the world and his actions follow his heart – he is heading home!
The father sees the prodigal coming and He runs to meet him. The father can’t wait to re-establish the forgotten relationship. The son that he loves has come home! He says that the son was dead and now he is alive! There is a great celebration of joy when one sinner repents.
The son was ready to express the sorrow and regret of his actions and make his request to be a servant who is allowed to stay in the family home, but instead he finds that his father totally restores his position as a son!
A servant works for wages and pay, but a son has a relationship with his father. The father clothes the son with His best robe and the prodigal realizes he is now clothed with Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:2-4) The prodigal is now covered by Jesus and protected by Him.
He is given a ring by his father. This is a signet ring that identifies the prodigal as a son in the Heavenly family of God. A signet ring will carry the family logo or It can also be used as a seal for wax and represents the Holy Spirit’s seal or guarantee of salvation. The enemy of his soul can no longer reign over him but he has been given the authority of the father over all the works of the enemy.
He is also given sandals to walk in – the false gospels of earthly pleasures and prosperity and the pain of walking with bare feet are removed and his feet are now shod with the true gospel of Christ (Eph 6).
The father is so glad to have the son back that he says the fatted cow should be killed and they should make merry. Those with earthly eyes will see that as an abundance of provision but those with their eyes on the kingdom of God will see it as the joy shared with the father as we eat at His table and share the abundant meat of the word of God.
After people have given place to the devil in their lives, they often want to make declarations and do a battle of words with the devil to make him leave. However, the bible says that it is the anointing (oil) that breaks the yoke (Isaiah 10:27). This can also be said that it’s the “fat” of the anointing oil that breaks bondages. The Father was instantly ready to kill the “fatted” calf! The father gives us the meat of truth from His word and it is truth that sets us free! (John 8:32)
The bible says we are to keep our eyes fixed on Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2. As we keep our eyes and our heart focused on Him, we will never go astray.
Have you begun to have a wandering eye? Have you lost the intimacy of your original relationship with Him? Are you a prodigal that has embraced sin or falsehood and have not honored your heavenly inheritance of salvation?
Ask God to remove the veil of deception so you will only have eyes for the Father. As you set your eyes on the Lord and He becomes the only object of your affection, you will find that as you move closer to Him, He is also running to meet you. As you draw near to God, he will draw even nearer to you (James 4:8). The joy of your salvation will be restored as you come back under His covering, and walk in the true gospel of Jesus Christ - fulfilled and satisfied in His love and fellowship!
Teresa Kelton is the author of Prescriptions from Heaven: A Practical Guide to Biblical Healing and founder of Daughters of Zion - Ellis County.
Daughters of Zion is a ministry with an end time assignment to prepare the body of Christ for the return of the Lord. Through teaching, ministry, evangelism, and prayer – women are being equipped to reach their families and communities and fulfill their callings as workers in the last day harvest of the Lord.
Prescriptions from Heaven: A Practical Guide to Biblical Healing may be purchased here.