“It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32).
These words are the last words of the father to the older son in the parable. The father in the parable could easily be viewed as the Father in heaven. While there are no other words from the older son, it is fitting that the father had the last word. Too often people want to tell God how things are or how they ought to be. God the Father knows perfectly how to rule and will do so in keeping with all of his attributes. Consider some other examples where God has the last word and the practical application that comes from it.
- Human Suffering. Job stated after hearing the Lord, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further” (Job 40:4-5). Again, “I have heard thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). It is interesting that the next verse states, “And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7). The Lord tells them to offer sacrifices in keeping with His divine instructions, which was followed without comment on their part (cf. Job 42:8-9). Humanity does not have the full answer for human suffering. While sin brought suffering of all kinds, not all suffering is due to personal sin. Suffering draws man to God, the source of help and comfort. God has the final word on the tough questions.
- Humbling the Mentality of Self-Interest. The Lord said to Jonah, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11). This is how the book ends with God having the last word. Jonah wanted God to utterly destroy the people of Nineveh. He was especially angry when they repented at his preaching and God spared them. Attitudes that are not in keeping with the mind and will of God must have a word from the Lord. The Lord God can humble like no other. When attitude problems arise in any situation, the word of the Lord is the approach.
- Heavenly Judgment. Jesus stated, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23). The Lord will have the last word in the judgment. All the doctrines of men and the comments of human thinking will not change the word of God. Jesus stated, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Jesus concludes the sermon of Matthew 5-7 with the emphasis of man continuing to hear his sayings and keep on doing them. Some may start and not finish. It is how one finishes that makes all the difference. God’s word will stand.