Despite the caricature some carry around in their head, God is not opposed to a drink. He is opposed to our cheap wine (John 2:10). He is not opposed to good sex. He is, however, opposed to our defiling, syphilitic roll in the hay with ‘what’s-his-name’ next door (Ezekiel 16:25-26).
Our weakness is not that we like to party, but that we party in the wrong houses.
And when you arrive spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. (Deuteronomy 14:26)
Our problem is not that our appetite for pleasure is too big, but too little.
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Meet the prodigal son. Given the setting and Jesus’ description of the Father’s estate, it seems that the home of the prodigal son was a place of great wealth.
These guys had money to burn and it seems that the younger son got it into his head that that’s what money was for. And so he went off and burnt the lot.
Luke 15:13 tells us that he went to a far country (sin often gets underway by getting far away), and there he squandered his property in wild living.
Having wasted his youthful strength, he drags his defiled yet repentant body home (Luke 15:21). In this life, there will unlikely be any recovery of what he has now lost; emotionally, physically, and materially. But maybe he will find mercy.
The father sees his son coming up the road. He runs to him, hugs him tight with joyful kisses, and orders a great feast. A celebration with dancing and singing.
It turns out that the Father’s mercy and joy over those who repent is greater than our poxy benders.
We were not told earlier what the wild living looked like. But a little further on and the older brother helps us out. He complains (rightly) that the younger son had devoured his father’s property with prostitutes (Luke 15:30).
Have you ever met someone whose party-going lifestyle has left them tragically diseased, prematurely aged, emaciated, and, well, looking like death warmed up? Being a pot-smoking fornicator has heavy consequences.
Now, you would think, just as the older brother did, that the last thing such a man needs is another party.
Jesus thought otherwise.