Sometimes when you read the Bible there are certain passages, sentences, or even just words that suddenly stand out, even though you have read the Bible Story over and over again. You suddenly have a new revelation! You see something in a different light. The Holy Spirit, living inside you, gives you a little nudge and says, “Look closer. Sometimes it’s not just a little nudge either!!! The title of this post is one of those! I had read this story probably hundreds of times, heard countless sermons on it, have seen dramatisations of the story but this time these words just stuck out!
He Heard Music and Dancing!
For those of us who possess a vivid imagination, words really do paint pictures. The saying, ‘A picture paints a thousand words” is not just the lyric to a Bread song!! Words do paint pictures. So what picture does ‘He heard music and dancing’ paint for you? Obviously there is a man and hears something. Can you see the man, can you hear the music, can you hear people dancing? Obviously something is happening. So this guy is walking somewhere and hears something unusual. You know it’s unusual because you tend not to notice the usual sounds in your life. Maybe you are sitting at home relaxing, nothing will move you unless you hear a loud crash, or something smash! Then you are up like a flash! (Did you see what I did there!!! CRASH! SMASH! FLASH! Not impressed? Can’t please everyone. What if I tell you they are all onomatopoeias? Still no?? Oh, Well!) Back to the story. This guy hears something unusual. It makes him stop and take note. In the story he actually stops someone and asks what on earth is going on? Things around him had changed, he was slightly unnerved.
Perhaps the time has come to unveil another part of the story. The music and dancing arer from a celebration. It’s a party. Someone is having a get-together beyond all get-togethers! The man listening to the joy is not part of it. He is an outsider looking in. It’s an awful feeling isn’t it when you feel there is something amazing going on and you are not involved. So this is where this guy is at, he sees something that he is not part of and he doesn’t like it. What makes it worse is that the party is in the house where he lives. There is a party happening and he hasn’t been told about it. In fact he has been out all day working for the person who is holding the party. To add to the bad feeling, the host of the party is his dad!! What? Come on? No way!! Yep way! This poor guy had been working for his dad all day and on his way home he hears music and dancing coming from his dad’s house and he wasn’t invited.
You probably have guessed the story now. The Prodigal Son! You can find the story in the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 along with the stories of ‘The Lost Sheep’ and ‘The Lost Coin’. The items that are lost are not the main focus of each story but the people looking for what they have lost. It is the shepherd, who has lost his sheep, and the woman, who has lost the coin, who are the main characters of the first two stories in the chapter. It is the same with the story of ‘The Lost Son’, it is not the son but the father who is the main character here. The son and his brother are minor characters. They are important to the story but not the main focus! The story is about the Extravagant Father! He was the one who provided the ‘Music and Dancing!’
We know the story really well and we know it shows us how God forgives the one who goes away from Him. We are taught from an early age that the father in the story is a picture of God and the son is the one who goes against God! This is a story about forgiveness but more than that it is the story about God’s extravagance in His love for us! ‘Music and Dancing!’
This is what caught my eye this time. We have such an Extravagant God! This is part of His character all the time! It is not just for the lost, we are His children too. The brother who had stayed with the father and was working in his fields is the key to seeing God’s extravagant Grace towards us. Let’s start at the end of the story. We’re not doing a Julie Andrews because in this case the end is the best place to start and not the beginning. (Just a quick nod to the Sound of Music.) So at the end of the story the father says to the brother:
“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.“ (Luke 15:31 NASB)
The son was very angry that the father had wasted so much money on his brother but what is interesting is the father’s reply. The words ‘always’ and ‘all’ are important. Can you see where we, as Sons and Daughters of the Mighty God, stand. We are always with Him and all that He has is ours!! The brother’s problem was that he didn’t ask. If he had asked for the cloak, ring, fatted calf and the party, he would have got it. How often do we complain about things without seeking God and asking Him. Do you actually believe that God will give you all you ask for as the Bible says or does your experience tell you something else! The brother’s experience tells him that life is a hard slog. You work and work and really get nothing. He lived as if he had nothing but all the time his father has extravagant love for him.
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.“ (Mark 11:24 NASB)
Let’s stop just hearing the singing and the dancing but join in. Go for all that He wants to give you. Don’t ever settle for anything other than God’s best. His desire is to bless you. As a child of God expect the robe, the ring, the party with the best food.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.“ (Psalm 23:5-6 NASB)
We can spend our whole earthly lives on the periphery looking in. We see other people being blessed and appearing to be free while we have to work, work, work to get anything from our Heavenly Father. Why don’t you just stop, take time to get to know who your Father is? Get to know His character. See that He has everything for you. The ring, the cloak, the feast and He provides the music and dancing for you to enjoy. ‘His cup overflows’! Just imagine pouring something into a glass and not stopping when you reach the rim. Pouring out over every where. That is God’s Love, Grace and Blessing. Abundant! Extravagant! Seek and find Him and you will see. He is faithful!
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33 NASB)
Don’t wait for Heaven to receive what you can have now. Read the two posts Where Do You Live? and The Sequel” and see that we are already seated with Christ in Heavenly places and therefore can claim what is rightly ours.