Give me the portion of goods that fall to me (Luke 15:12). The prodigal son knew what belonged to his father and if his father had it, that meant he had it. His father gave him what he asked for, but his problems began when he stopped obeying what he was taught by his father. He started doing things that sons shouldn’t do. The moment he disobeyed, he became a slave – to sin, debt, poverty.
But one day, his eyes were opened. He realized that he didn’t have to live the way he was living. He remembered that his father, who he had left, had hired servants who had enough bread. The prodigal son wasn’t just in a distant country, but he was in a distant relationship with his father. The moment he returned to his father, everything he lost was restored. The servants placed on him a robe, sandals and a ring. The ring signified that when he decreed a thing, it would be established and no one could change or alter what he had spoken.
The elder son was angry because he saw his brother living the way he should have been living. Although he had read the commandments and had not sinned against them, he still didn’t understand what belonged to him. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31). Even though he took his anger out on his brother and father, he was really angry at himself because he didn’t know how to access what his father had already given him.
While the household was celebrating the return of the prodigal son, the elder son was outside when he should have been inside. He couldn’t believe his ears. Why were they celebrating? How could his brother who left his house and his country to become a citizen of another country, lose everything, return to his house and get back everything he lost? To him, that wasn’t fair, but it was fair. When the prodigal son asked for his portion, the father divided it between the elder and the younger. The elder had the same thing as his brother, but he didn’t do anything with what was given to him. (This reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30).
It took the prodigal son becoming a slave to discover that he was a son. He discovered that the things he was under were the things that he was created to rule over. He wasn’t created to toil or to beg.
The elder and the prodigal son lived in the same house. They had the same father. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to the same church with someone and hear the same sermon and the same instructions yet you’re still at the Jordan while others have already crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land? What did they do that you refused to do? Perhaps the problem has been that we like to hear a good word, but we don’t do anything with the information we hear in church because sometimes it’s not easy.
Do you think that leaving a country that was afar off to return to his home was easy for the prodigal son? It was a fight, but he walked until he walked himself out of his situation.
There is an enemy who is angry because he lost. He is angry that he got kicked out of heaven and he is doing everything he can to get you kicked out of the garden like Adam. He doesn’t want you to know who you are and what you have. He doesn’t want you to get everything that belongs to you.
Don’t do what the elder son did. He told the father what he didn’t have and what his father never gave him (Luke 15:29). Some of us do the same thing.
I don’t have the money to purchase a home.
I don’t have anyone to help me.
I don’t have a college degree.
This is why God asked Moses, What is that in your hand? Elisha asked the widow, What do you have in the house? I think sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we can’t see what we do have.
May God not only reveal what He has given to us, but I pray that we use it for Him.
Refuse to be a church that is a hearer, but not a doer of the word.
In the book of Genesis, Hagar was in the wilderness on two separate occasions, but I don’t want to talk about the day she was sent away. I want to talk about the day she ran away.
Abram and Sarai had been living in Canaan for ten years and there still wasn’t a baby. Since Sarai wasn’t able to get pregnant, she thought it would be a good idea for her maid to carry a child for her so she gave Hagar to her husband to be his wife. According to Genesis 16:4, Hagar looked down on Sarai once she became pregnant. She became proud, arrogant and disrespectful. Maybe Hagar didn’t realize that it was an honor and a privilege to be chosen to carry this child. Maybe she forgot that this child wasn’t hers – that she was carrying it for someone else. I know some of you may feel that Sarai got what she deserved for giving her maid to her husband in the first place, but that doesn’t justify Hagar’s behavior. Yes, she was carrying Abram’s child, but she was still the maid. She was still a slave, someone paid the price for her and she didn’t belong to herself anymore.
Sarai complained about Hagar to Abram and he basically told her, I’m out of this. That is your maid. This is between you and her. You deal with her. And that’s exactly what Sarai did. The bible tells us that Sarai dealt harshly with her. Now if you’ve ever watched a movie or read a book about slavery, then you know that most slaves who didn’t submit to their owners were beaten. Sarai beat Hagar’s body to bring it into subjection (submission), but because it didn’t feel good to her flesh, Hagar ran away.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness by a fountain of water and asked, Where did you come from and where are you going? Hagar told the angel where she was running from, but she never told him where she was running to. That’s because Hagar didn’t know where she was going. It looked like she was going to be a single mother raising a baby all by herself. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t have it all planned out yet. She was lost and unsure, but the angel gave her directions. He told her to go back to what she ran from. Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hands (Genesis 16:9).
Do you think it was easy for Hagar to go back? It probably wasn’t easy at first. I don’t think she got excited and ran back home, but when the angel of the Lord told her about her future, it gave her hope. From you will come many people – too many people to count (Genesis 16:10). She was just about to give up, but when the angel gave her a word, not only did she believe again, but she acted on what she believed. She did what the angel told her to do. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22). When we resist God and reject His word and don’t do what He asks of us, we (NOT the devil) delay His words. We delay His promises from coming to pass in our lives.
Lazy people don’t inherit the promises of God. You receive what God has promised through faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12). Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Sarai to try and try again, year after year, only to never conceive while Hagar conceived the very first time she slept with Abram? It doesn’t surprise me that Sarai got upset or became jealous of her maid. It seemed like God was doing it for Hagar and everybody else, but when was He going to do it for her? Sarai was 65 years old when God appeared to Abram and promised him a son and Isaac finally came when she was 90 years old.
The promise won’t come easy, but it shall surely come.
I’m sure there was disappointment, tears and frustration. Abram and Sarai trusted more in their flesh than they trusted in their God and God couldn’t do what He wanted to do until their will and their ways died. There was a period of waiting, but it wasn’t them waiting on God. It was God waiting on them. He waited until Abram was good as dead (Hebrews 11:12). He waited until Sarah’s womb was dead (Romans 4:19). He waited until they totally relied on Him. Then, He performed what He promised. This promise was going to be born of the Spirit, not of the flesh. I know some of you are trying to make it work or trying to fix it or trying to make things happen on your own, but what God has promised you will not be done by your might or by your power. It will only be done by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).
Hagar didn’t spend a lot of years in the wilderness like the children of Israel. She didn’t go around the same mountain year after year. She humbled herself, turned, got back in her rightful place and gave Sarai the respect and honor she deserved. Hagar may have messed up, but she didn’t give up.
You can make excuses like Moses, you can run like Jonah and you can wrestle like Jacob, but you’re not going to win. You can run, but you can’t hide. God sees you (Genesis 16:13). You can’t run away from the calling, your assignment, your responsibility or the word that God has spoken concerning you. Follow the example of Hagar. Instead of running away from God (His plan, process and purpose), run to God and submit yourself under HIS hands.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will run from you (James 4:7).