Words Have Power (Parable of the Prodigal Son)
by Kris Belfils 2/04/2008 / Christian Living
Words are powerful. With our words we can speak life or death. With our speech we can put people in bondage or set them free. With the words we think or say we can bring healing or torment.
James talks about the tongue being a rudder that steers the whole ship, or a bit in the horse's mouth.
James 3:2 12 (Amplified Bible)
"For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. If we set bits in the horses' mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man's nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna). For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature). But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God's likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water."
We can take a look at one of the parable's of Jesus to see how much power words really have. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three characters. Each one speaks words and acts upon them.
Luke 15:11 32 (Amplified Bible)
"And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]. Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry. But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing. And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant. And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well. But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him, But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf! And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!"
Prodigal in the dictionary means, "Wastefully, or recklessly extravagant, giving or yielding profusely; lavish, lavishly abundant, profuse, a person who spends, or has spent his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.
1. Younger son spoke
-Younger son dwelt on what was going to be his someday. He asked his father:
" give me the part of the property that falls [to me]."
-The younger son had been thinking about this for some time and planned on asking his father for what was rightfully his but this only comes when the father has passed away.
Action of his words:
- "And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living."
-He wanted to go out and live his own life the way he wanted to live it. His actions reflected what he was thinking and again he acted upon it.
-He spent his money recklessly extravagantly. This is being a prodigal.
2. He came to himself
[-He spoke words to himself again:] "How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants."
"So he got up and came to his own father."
-He acted on his words and left for home. But this time he had "come to himself."
-We come to our self when we realize we can't make it on our own.
-We come to our self when we see that all our choices have made big mistakes in our life.
-We come to our self when we give up control and give it back to our Heavenly Father.
-We come to our self when we go to the Father and ask Him to forgive us of our wrong we have done.
We all need to "come to ourselves" from time to time. If we don't we will lead ourselves astray. We will "self-destruct" without God!
We, as sinners, are slow to come to our self and go back to God, but God is quick to run to us as He sees our brokenness and repentive heart.
3. The Father saw his son from a far off and ran to him.
-The Father always was waiting and looking for the son to come home.
-He longed for him to be home.
-For the father to see him from a far off you know he was constantly thinking about the way-word son and looking for his return.
-God always has His eye on us, waiting for us to move towards Him!
You might feel far away from God tonight. You have distance yourself from Him for some reason and God has his eye on you, waiting for you to draw near.
C.H. Spurgeon wrote in a sermon on the Prodigal Son;
"I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faith is dim compared with the eye of God's love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him. He was resolve to come, yet he was half afraid. But we read that his father ran. Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us. The father "saw" his son. There is a great deal in that word, "saw." He saw who it was; saw where he had come from; saw the swineherd's dress; saw the filth upon his hands and feet; saw his rags; saw his penitent look; saw what he had been; saw what he was; and saw what he would soon be. "His father saw him." God has a way of seeing men and women that you and I cannot understand. He sees right through us at a glance, as if we were made of glass; He sees all our past, present and future."
The Father had prodigal love towards his son as he was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].
Other translations read:
" fell upon his neck and affectionately kissed him."
His father extravagantly kissed him and loved on him. He was waiting and anticipating his son to come home. I am sure the father always had his son on his mind. Any loving father would.
His father showed more extravagant love for his son as he said to bring the best robe (festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. This signifies kingship, authority, rule and reign.
His father gave him all that and a fatten cow to eat and celebrate the homecoming with his friends.
The father spoke:
"Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-] fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!" (Luke 15:22 24 Amplified Bible)
When we stray it hurts the Father. The Father will mourn like someone is dead. He will ache in His heart until we come back like someone who has lost a precious jewel and longs to find it.
The Father sees you! He knows where you have been. He knows what you have done. He knows what you have spoken, and He knows your name!
We don't have to worry about the past. God has wiped it all away the moment we repent. We don't have to worry about our future because God has prepared ahead of time what we will need. All we have to do is trust God with our lives and allow Him to be the Father.
4. The older son's actions:
-But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in.
In this case, he took action before he spoke to his father. But his "actions spoke louder than words," as the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration.
The older son spoke:
"Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!"
The older son spoke with jealously and anger. He didn't understand why his father would lavish so much love on his younger brother after all the WRONG that he did. It didn't make sense to him. Mercy and grace never makes sense to someone who is not the receiver, only the one who receives.
When jealously and anger grips our hearts it paralyzes us. It makes us do things that are selfish. The older son was offended because all he could see is the "good" he has done and the "bad" his brother did. Being critical or judgmental towards others is a sin. The older brother was just as guilty of wrong as the younger brother was.
5. The father spoke:
"And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!"
This parable was spoken to the tax collectors and Scribes and Pharisees in verses 1 and 2 in Luke 15: "Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."
The church is likened to that of the older son. There might be people here tonight that have been a child of God most of your life. Do you get critical towards sinners? Do you cast a judgmental eye towards those that have fallen or that keep falling? We can get judgmental towards the lost ones that come in as they don't talk like us or walk like us. We can think of them as "less then" because of their past. This is sin! God wants us to let go of the judgment and celebrate the change in people's life.
We need to rejoice over one lost sinner that comes to Jesus and treat them with respect and love. Love will always receive, jealously and judgment always pushes away.
What have you been speaking to yourself lately? Are they words of hope or discouragement? What have you been speaking about people lately? Are they words of hope or judgment? Do you feel like you can't come back to God because of your past? Do you identify with the prodigal son? Do you identify with the older brother?
God sees everything. He knows your name! We can come to God and ask for forgiveness.
Pastor Kris Belfils
Kris Belfils is an Author, Pastor, Singer/Songwriter, Speaker, and Worship Leader. She has a passion to see people transformed and set free. Her newest book, "The Garbage Man Always Comes On Fridays," is a powerful tool to help others overcome their past. www.krisbelfils.com