I have never seen a carob pod growing although they have been cultivated in California since being imported in 1873. They almost look like locusts the way they hang off a branch, which is why they are also called, “locust bean.” This tree grows well in the Mediterranean climate and the pods are used to feed livestock, but we enjoy them too with a little preparation. The seeds when pulverized are a great substitute for chocolate. Carob chocolate has only half the fat of regular chocolate, but then I only enjoy it half as much!
The young man in today’s verse was desperately hungry. After asking for his inheritance from his Father and then squandering it, he finds himself feeding carob pods to the pigs and wishing he could fill up his stomach with them as well. It is finally at this point that the “prodigal son” comes to his senses and returns to his Father. His Father, representing our Heavenly Father, runs out to welcome him.
So many are living contentedly with carob pods in the pigsty when they could be dining at their Father’s table (and with real chocolate!) So many do not come to their senses. And the Father did everything right. There was no lack of love in that household. There was no failure to communicate truth. He raised that son perfectly. Yet, the son rebelled.
It serves no purpose to second guess or feel guilty that something more could have been done. It is the Lord who does all the “doing” to draw us to Himself. And thankfully, there is always hope that a loved one will return to God’s waiting arms.
Lord, keep me hoping and praying.