Faithful God, keep us; do not let us go away from thee. Amen.
Luke 15, 11-16. And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
In this younger son the Lord pictures the heathen and publicans, who have gone far away from God. But it is also a picture of the apostate Christians. How sad it is that a man will discard the glory which he has as a child of God, and choose instead the wretched pleasures of the world! He wastes all that he had of heavenly riches; he throws away his peace and joy in the Lord; he loses the most glorious treasure which is to be had in heaven or on earth, the life of love in God. The Spirit of God deserts him; and thus the light in his understanding is put out, and he walks in darkness. He casts away his trust in God, and his privilege and comfort as a child of the heavenly Father; the gracious gift of prayer; the precious right to pour out the heart before the Lord, and receive help in every danger and trouble; the songs of praise and thanksgiving; the divine service, the joyful communion of the saints, and the brotherly spirit; the life in holiness and honor, and the desire for that which is pure and true;—in short, he casts away everything which the child of God possesses. — He wastes all his substance. That is, he either plunges into wickedness at once; or he gradually becomes lukewarm, and cold, insensible to correction by the Spirit, worldly-minded, and careless; thus losing the life in God. Then he seeks to satisfy himself with the pleasures of the world; but all the children of the world without exception suffer hunger, and have nothing which satisfies. Selfishness consumes; love alone gives. Love is the only thing which satisfies the craving of the soul. The world does not have this love; and therefore it can not appease our hunger. Alas, how wretched is the man of the world even in the midst of his riches and splendors! What a sad bargain it is when one of God’s children exchanges the glory of his estate of grace for the hollow happiness to be found in carnal pleasures! Look at him; he was pure and comely, and enjoyed existence among the angels and other children of God in the rich house of the Father; — and now he walks among the swine, greedy for the husks which the greedy swine want for themselves, and being consumed by his own lusts. — Watch, then, ye Christians, and fall not from grace! Do not, under any circumstances, leave our heavenly Father’s house! We beseech and adjure you: Walk in the light, and abide in the Son and Father! Never let yourselves be deceived by the hollow and miserable world!
Heavenly Father, hold us fast to thee; preserve us in the state of grace, and keep us from the evil way of the prodigal son. This we pray with our whole heart. Amen.
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on thee:
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed;
All my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenceless head
With the shadow of thy wing!
[TLH 345; tune here]