The swine flu is not to be taken lightly. Lives have been lost; and cases are spreading across nation and state boarders. Health officials are on high alert and an epidemic is feared. We are to take precautions regarding our own safety and keep informed of recent developments; and are told to watch for common flu symptoms.
In the Bible we see stories involving swine, usually in very negative terms. They were considered unclean to the Hebrew people; and even coming in contact with them made a person unworthy for worship in the house of the Lord. To be associated with swine in any way would be a black mark on a person’s character and reputation.
In the well known parable of the prodigal son we see a life lunge into self destruction, making one wrong decision after another. Let’s stand in the shadows of a young man and see how a man wastes his life.
He is ready to live it up, “Father give me the share of the estate that falls to me (Luke 15:12a NAS).” He was not willing to wait till after his fathers’ death. Our leading character had itchy feet, places to go and things to do!
The gracious father gave the younger son his portion and act 2 begins. The man left as soon as he could get packed, and got as far away as possible from father and any restraints. He had no thoughts of tomorrow or of his money tree being axed, only lived in daily self indulgence.
In a far away land he wasted his resources; a definition of prodigal is wasteful! The fathers’ hard earned legacy slipped right between his fingers. To make the situation worse his environment offered no hope for improvement. The surrounding area experienced a severe famine. He could not expect generous hand outs or even loans. He experienced real need, likely for the first time in his life. (Luke 15:13-14)
Notice the wording in the opening of act 3. “And he went and attached himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine,(Luke 15:15 NAS).” It did not say he was invited, but “attached himself,” like a leech! He found a rock and crawled under! In disgust the land owner may have said, “If you stay here, you have to work!”
Our wanderer now literally faced starvation! He lived with swine and ate with swine! “And he was longing to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him (Luke 15:16 NAS).” As the curtain closes on this scene our leading man faces reality! “ But when he came to his senses, he said, How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger, (Luke 15:17 NAS).”
In the next 2 verses he picks himself up, dusts himself off and begins his trek back home. Step by step, mile by mile he begins a prepared speech to address to his father. He would not pussy foot around the issue; he would admit his sin, and his unworthiness to bear the family name.
In our closing scene, act 4, the father sees him off in the distance and runs breathlessly to embrace and kiss his run away boy! The prepared speech of apology was cut short by the father’s instructions to a servant to gather the best robes and sandals, a ring representing honor and authority!
A feast of celebration would be given. In our terms the father implied “I gave this son up as dead, never expecting to see him again. He lives! He was lost, but found his way back home! What a day!”
For our finale we see our young man with memories of swine still imbedded in his mind, eating the fatted calf. It is not too late; if you are in that far country living a defeated life, turn around! High tail it back home to our heavenly Father! He is waiting with open arms!