Yesterday I preached a sermon based on the story of the Prodigal Son (which I’ll assume everyone knows but it wouldn’t hurt to go back and read it as a refresher, see Luke 15:11-32). The story is an exact fit for all that I wrote about last week. When I read the story in the morning, what jumped out at me was how deep the boy had fallen and how amazing his deliverance was. He went from the deepest pit to the highest palace in no time.
How deep did he sink? We often have this picture of the Prodigal Son eating pig’s food with dirty animals in a pen. But actually that is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t say he ate food with the pigs; what the Bible says is actually that it was even worse than that.
“And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” Luke 15:16
The Bible doesn’t say that he was eating pig’s food; the Bible says he “would gladly” have eaten pig’s food but even the pigs wouldn’t share with him. Go read that line again.
Wow! That’s low. That’s really low. That’s about a deep a pit as you can imagine. The boy had nothing. No home. No food. No family. No friends. No opportunities on the horizon. No future to look forward to. No reason for hope at all. He was deep in a pit.
And what makes it even worse is that if you were to take a survey and ask 100 people, “Did he deserve to be in thispit?”, I’d bet that 99 out of those 100 people would say YES. Yes he deserved it. He made his own choice. No one forced him to leave his father’s house. He made his own bed and now he has to lie in it. 99 out of 100 people would probably say that, including the Prodigal Son himself.
But there’s one person who would definitely disagree. Who’s that one person who would say that he doesn’t deserve it? THE FATHER! And the good news is that the Father’s opinion is the only one that really counts.
Aren’t you glad that you have a Father like that?
Like the father in the story, your Heavenly Father is full of love and compassion for you – no matter what you may have done to sink yourself into a pit. No pit is too deep and no fall is too much for Him to overcome and deliver you from.
I want you to read these words of Scripture carefully – but don’t read them as a story about someone else. Read them as a personal message from your Father in heaven directed right at you – especially when you’re in the pit.
“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.” Luke 15:22-24
The more I read/pray/think about it, the more I realize that we weren’t made to live in pits. We weren’t made to live in dark places – low places, full of mud and mire and despair. No way. You and I weren’t made to live in a pit; we were made to live in the palace!
I hope you enjoyed this past week’s messages on pits. That’s all I will write on the subject as now the rest of my preparation on the subject will be delivered at the Passion Retreat. Say a prayer for me that God help me to deliver His message with power and grace and also that many people will find what the Prodigal Son found today – freedom from the pit and life in the palace.
Discussion: Any final thoughts on pits and how God delivers us from them?