And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Children playing outside are often admonished by their parents to stay in their own yard or where their parents can see them. When they wander outside these boundaries, they have a tendency to get into trouble. The prodigal son went far away from home and wasted all his money on the wrong kinds of things. At some point in our lives, we may make the decision to walk away from God, His will, His Word, or His ways. And when we wander into a far country away from God, we tend to get into trouble.
First of all, this kind of disobedience is a deliberate choice. The prodigal son planned all of this out. Though he had everything he needed in his father’s house, he chose to leave it all behind in search of something else. He chose to go to a far country, and he chose what to spend his money on and what to do with his time. In our lives, we have the same freedom to make our own choices. We can choose to leave the things of God behind in search of something else and choose to journey far from Him. We may choose to spend our time and money on sinful things instead of using them in ways pleasing to God.
But there are consequences for all of our choices. When we go too far from God, it is easier to end up among the swine. Bad choices will lead us to bad places until we fall among the filth of the world and are surrounded by a dirty, sinful mess. Our lives will be starved of the blessings of God, and we may have to do without some of the things God gave us that we had taken for granted. Stepping away from God may cause us to lose everything we had. Sin will leave us empty and broken down completely.
But when we come to our senses, when we realize the error of our ways, when we see that God’s way really was the best way, when we acknowledge our sin, we’ll make that trek back to our Father. And when we do, we’ll see that he was eagerly awaiting our return. We’ll see the arms of our loving Father open wide, ready to forgive us and receive us back home where we belong.