In the popular parable known as the Prodigal Son, the father gives his lost son several gifts when he returns home. In previous posts I mentioned the gifts of the father’s running to meet him and the “best robe” as it was called. Another significant gift is the ring. This was the father’s way of saying, “we are family and there is nothing you have to do to earn that.”
When the youngest son told his father he wanted his inheritance and was leaving to do his own thing, he was essentially saying he didn’t want to be a part of the family any longer or at a minimum he didn’t want a relationship with the Father. When the father put a ring on the younger son’s finger, it was a way for the father to clearly say he still wanted a relationship with him.
In the Bible, there is a story in Genesis 41 where Pharaoh, the highest ruler in Egypt, takes off the signet ring from his hand and puts it on the hand of Joseph, the guy known for his “techinicolor dream coat.” By giving Jospeh that ring, he was letting everyone in Egypt know that his relationship with the Pharaoh was of the highest order and gave him the authority to speak for the Pharaoh. That is like what the father was saying to his son when he gave him the ring.
Even more than that, the ring was probably an family identifier. In other words, it was proof he not only spoke for the family, but was actually a part of the family. This parallels what God said about his relationship with the people of Israel with “I make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you” (Haggai 2:23, ESV). Paul, one of the great disciples of Jesus, also carried this theme of adoption into his letters to the early churches when he spoke about becoming sons of God and thus heirs to his inheritance (Galatians 4:1-7).
It is pretty amazing to think that no matter who we are or what we have done, the creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with us and give us all he has to offer. He is simply waiting for us to come home and accept the free gift he has proven he is more than willing and ready to give. Are you ready to go home?