Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hungry and Thirsty

The bond between parent and child is heartfelt and deep-rooted, and any differences occurring in the relationship are usually pardoned by love. The earthly devotion between family members is a miniature version of the heavenly love between God and His people. Yet alongside relationships filled with love comes pain.

The Old Testament contains a story in 2 Samuel 15-19 about King David and his son Absalom. King David’s son desired power over love and respect for his own father. Absalom deceived not only his father, but some people of Israel, and with them he desired to overtake King David. A fight was planned when word reached David and his men. Both parties crossed over the Jordan River at different times, camping at different places. Several people took care of David and his men with beds and food saying, "The people are hungry, weary, and thirsty in the wilderness." (2 Samuel 17:29) Gaining strength, David and his men prepared to fight. Before the battle ensued, David said to his men, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom” (2 Samuel 18:5). 

During the armed conflict, Absalom’s head got hung on several limbs as his mule walked under a tree. When David’s men came upon him, only one chose to go against the wishes of a father for his son and he killed Absalom with three swords through the heart. When King David heard the news, he trembled and cried. As he walked away, he said, “Oh, my son Absalom! Oh, my son! My son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Oh, Absalom, my son! My son!” (2 Samuel 18:33) 

Absalom’s death grieved King David as evidenced in his cries of distress and sorrow. Any loving parent can easily relate to the emotion felt by David. How about the deceit displayed by Absalom before he met his death? Did David suffer dejection and despair over his son’s life choices?

Fast forward to another emotional father and son relationship. Luke 15 consists of several parables told by Jesus, one being the story of the prodigal son. It was stated that a man had two sons and the younger one asked for his share of the family’s wealth. After the father gave him his inheritance, the son went away and squandered his estate in loose living. A famine occurred where he lived and being completely poor, he hired himself out to a man with pigs. While working among the swine, the young man came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men” (verses 17-19). 

So the young man got up and traveled towards his homeland. When he was still a long way off, the father saw him, ran to him, embraced him, and kissed him. Immediately the father planned a huge celebration for his son’s homecoming. But while the son was away, did the father suffer dejection and despair over his son’s life choices?

Fast forward again to a time when a Samaritan woman encountered Jesus at a well. Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other, so the fact that Jesus talked to this woman is amazing. Jesus asked her for a drink of water and she questioned Him about their differences. He answered her saying, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). She asked where to get the living water. Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). The Samaritan woman asked Jesus for this water as she was spiritually thirsty and living in sin. Had she suffered dejection and despair over her own life choices?

The two stories of fathers and sons embrace love, pain, and even hunger. The story of the Samaritan woman presents a spiritually thirsty person standing by a well full of water. Hunger and thirst—what do those feelings have to do with anything? Reread the verses on hunger and thirst. The people are hungry, weary, and thirsty in the wilderness (2 Samuel 17:29). How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger (Luke 15:17). Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw (John 4:15).

King David and his men journeyed out in the wilderness where they became hungry, weary, and thirsty. Someone saw their needs and met them. The prodigal son journeyed to another country where he chose to sin and spend all his inheritance. Eventually a famine occurred in the land, and that spiritually hungry young man also grew physically hungry. He finally came to his senses, realizing plenty of food awaited him back home. So he returned to his father, who waited with compassion for him. The Samaritan woman drew water from a well to quench her physical thirst, only to discover her spiritual thirst once she met Jesus. 

All three stories communicate spiritual hunger and thirst that only Jesus can fill. Are you spiritually hungry? Do you thirst for more than water? I pray you will come to your senses and return to your Heavenly Father who waits with compassion for you. Love conquers all (Proverbs 10:12). Do you have a spiritually hungry or thirsty child, a prodigal? Wait with compassion for him/her to come to their senses and pray for a safe return to our Heavenly Father who loves His children. Love conquers all. 

Love comes from God. Only He can satisfy the wanderings and longings of His people in the wilderness. Only He can fill our empty souls that hunger and thirst. Hear His Words of Life and run to Him for satisfaction and salvation.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35 (NASB)
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 (NASB)
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south. 
They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men! 
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good. 
Psalm 107:1-9 (NASB)
(for more of God’s Word, read all of Psalm 107)

I searched for you, Lord God, in the wilderness. Thank you for waiting with compassion for my return to you. Thank you, Jesus, for satisfying my hunger and quenching my thirst. Thank you for Your love. May my life bring honor and glory to Your name. AMEN!

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