From a Jewish perspective, this parable is about the nation, Israel, having rebelled against the will of God, finds themselves in want and in need of repentance. It shows them that, upon repentance and returning to their God, they will find that He will receive them.
To make a personal application, we will look at this parable from the perspective on any individual who turns away from God, seeking his own will. This might be especially true of a young person, who upon graduation feels that now they can 'do as they please' because they are out on their own. Let's consider 'What 'Give Me" Got Him".
The young man, a son, which tells us of the intimate relationship with the father, comes with the request, that seems to border on the impertinent, "Give me what's coming to me; i.e., I want my inheritance now, rather then waiting for you to die." He wanted that which he felt he deserved by inheritance and he wanted it immediately. When we have such an attitude, it shows a disregard for personally responsibility without due regard for having earned his due. "Give me what I want simply because of who I am and when I want it."
We note that the Father did not argue, nor did he try to reason with the son. But we note also that it was from the Father's living that the son's goods came.
What he did when he got what he wanted: He left the Father for a far country, wanting to get as far away as possible. Away from the Father's influence, he would do as he pleased, and he did! He wasted his substance...he blew his inheritance on riotous living. He took his newfound freedom to the absolute limits of his financial ability. When he had spent all, he began to be in want, and to complicate matters, there arose a famine in the place where he was living. Now, broke and with the local economy in a downturn, he sought for work, but found none except in the home of a Gentile pig farmer. Now, this Jewish boy is reduced to feeding the ceremonially unclean swine.
At this point, only his pride is keeping him in this far country and away from his father, living in this miserable condition. Perhaps the fears the reprisal he is sure he would receive should he return home. The dreaded, "I told you so" already rings in his ears and he is hesitant to consider returning as a viable solution.
Finally, he takes stock of his situation and 'came to himself'. He began to consider his present condition, comparing it to the lowest servant in his father's house. When his sanity returned, he saw things as they really were, swallowed his pride and started the journey home. On the way, he rehearsed his conversation (18-19). He came to his father and was received with joy and gladness.
The Father had been watching for his return and Ran to him, Received him back into the family as one resurrected from the dead and Rejoiced in his return.
So, what did 'give me' get him? His sin...
1. Took him farther than he expected he would go
2. Cost him far more than he wanted to pay
3. Kept him longer than he thought he would stay
4. Took him lower than he thought he would ever be
He had to come to himself before he could return to the Father. But, when he did, he found forgiveness.
William C. Poole collaborated with Charles Gabriel to give us the hymn "Just When I Need Him Most", let it remind you that when you return from your far country, you need not fear rejection, just decide that you will 'arise and go to (your) Father.'