“And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.”—Luke 15:14 (ESV)
The two sons in the parable of the prodigal demonstrate before our eyes the futility of giving ultimate worth to anything smaller than the Jesus of the Bible.
The younger son, who came peddling his Father’s death certificate before he could drop dead, showed that what he needed the most was not his Father but the Father’s things.
The older son also obeyed, not out of love for his Father but for his Father’s things.
Luke’s account tells us that the younger son got the things. We also learn that the things never saved him.
The god of the younger son was not enough for him. The things got used, and he began to lack again. The emptiness in him that he thought the things will fill became even wider. His god was finite and ugly.
To illustrate the ugliness of this god, you need to think about a bucket full to the brim with water. If you started scooping water out of that bucket, you would run it dry, one way or another.
That is what happens when we put our hope, trust, security, identity, worth, value and salvation in things that perish with use.
They run out.
In the end, we are left wailing, enslaved in enemy territory, destitute, smelly and ugly like the gods we trusted to deliver us in the first place. Even the pigs will not share their food with us because we are ugly.
On the other hand, the God of the bible is different.
He is like an ocean. From age to age, He never runs out; He never runs dry. He is infinite. He offers a sure salvation, but above all, He is beautiful and makes beautiful.