The Bible story of the boy who ran away from home!

There is a song titled, "Where Will You Be When You Get Where You're Going?" That suggests the theme for this Bible Research message ; "You Can Go Home." It has been a real popular song among the younger generation. The theme raises a most profound and disturbing question for many. The reason is simply because they have no goal, no purpose for living and are just drifting along like the leaves carried by the wind. It reminds us of a young man Jesus spoke about in one of His parables. The story is found in Luke, chapter 15, beginning with verse 11. It reads: "A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him unto his fields to feed swine. And he would have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said unto him Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found, And they began to be merry." That concludes the reading of Verse 24.

Here is a very touching story of a father who had two sons. The younger son wanted to become independent of his family, so he asked the father to arrange for him to have the share of the inheritance that would fall to him at the father's death, only he wanted it now. This generous, goodhearted father made the arrangements.

Now, this observation is in order here: Parents don't always do what is best for their children. They sometimes err in judgement as it would appear this father did. Another thing, a teenager does not always know what is best, nor will he always make wise decisions. He may seem very certain about his direction today and yet reverse the decision tomorrow. This should not surprise us since he is limited in experience. As a result, he is often unsure as to what is best.

So with our young man in the story. Once his wish was granted, he was free to chart his own course. He was set on getting away from home where he could be his own boss. Presently we find him in a distant land far away from family and relations. He is having a great time with many exciting and thrilling things to do. It is easy to make friends so long as he was paying the bills. Much faster and much sooner than he expected, he ran through the inheritance. To his surprise, his fair-weather friends began to disappear rapidly. The inheritance that could have made life easy for him financially, had been recklessly blown.

This story has its modern day counter-part. All too many of our generation have at one time been in the far country. In fact, multitudes remain there. In case you fail to understand: The far country is the place where every human being is, who is not in tune or in touch with God our heavenly Father. Many of us have left our earthly parent's home. It wasn't easy to do providing we enjoyed a happy family relationship. For others we could hardly wait to get out, the relationship was so unpleasant. I have had teens tell me: "My parents didn't care when I left home. They didn't cry nor show any emotion." I always reply: "how do you know they didn't care? Just because they didn't cry or outwardly express emotion that was obvious, doesn't mean 11 they were unconcerned. Some people cry inside, while others are not very good at showing emotion or expressing feeling. How about YOU? When the day comes to leave home, it finds most young people truly excited and perhaps a bit anxious. For the first time we are going to be on our own, able to make our own decisions, with no one looking over our shoulder. Our minds are exploding with new thoughts. We are going out into a world that offers a supermarket of differing ideas.

Like so many young people, the young man in our story wasn't out there long until he found out how cruel and how harsh people can really be. In a very short time he found himself EMPTY. This characterizes the life of so many today. Along with this, he became terribly lonely. Those who had been his friends while there were good times and free meals, suddenly didn't seem to have time for him any more. It is somewhat shocking to wake up one day only to find that people have been using us. You talk about emptiness and loneliness,---it's difficult to describe.

Here in Luke, chapter 15 is the story of our 20th century. It shows how genuine and contemporary the Book is.

This young man found himself empty, lonely, in pain and confused. Nothing seemed to work or go right for him. He had no peace of mind and found no satisfaction in anything. To top it all off, he was at the point of starvation. He had to stoop to feeding hogs which, for his Jewish culture, was offensive to say the least. It wasn't very long until his hunger pains were so acute that he would have gladly eaten the husk left by the swine.

This young man had no intention of ending up in the hog pen when he left home, but then, neither does anyone else. It was then as it is today, the natural consequence of having no real purpose for living, no goal for which to shoot.

But then, a strange thing happened. Suddenly there flashed before him memories of home. With this he came to himself. Memories can be precious but they can also be frightening at times. You recall in the story of the rich man and Lazarus that God has Abraham say: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise, Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented." Luke 16:25. This rich man was asked to remember.

Tell me--where will you be when you get where you're going? One person said; "I came to myself, and I took a look to find that I was just a bunch of garbage." May I suggest that the point at which we come to ourselves is a very crucial moment and a very important juncture in life. It requires absolute honesty, and the boldness to stand up and face ourselves in the mirror even though we are not happy with what we see.

Pleasant memories of home caused this young man to come to himself and when he did, he suddenly thought, "I will go back home to my father and simply ask to become-a hired servant. For I am no longer worthy to be a son." My friend this is bold, but is essential. It isn't easy to go home smelling like a pig while making no defense for your behavior. Just to say, "I was wrong" is embarrassing and humiliating to put it mildly, but it is also necessary.

Of course, there was also the question of what sort of reception he would get once he returned home. Contrary to what he deserved, his father was waiting with open arms to receive him back. In fact, he ran out to meet him. After an embrace and a hearty greeting, the son launched into his little prepared speech. "Father, I am no longer worthy to be called your son-just allow me to be as one of your hired servants." But the father interrupts, limy son, my son!' "I'll have none of this servant business." He calls for the finest robe, a ring, sandals and the whole outfit to dress up his son.

The fatted calf is killed and a banquet is spread, it is an occasion for rejoicing. For, says the father, "This my son was dead and is alive--he was lost and is found." This calls for a home-coming celebration.

Now what is the most wonderful lesson about this story? Simply this, you can come home no matter where you are. You can come home to a loving, compassionate Father. And when you do, you won't be scolded, put down, or turned away. You will be received with open arms by a loving Father who has been waiting and longing for your return.

True, you won't be worthy of the reception you get, but then who is? Isaiah wrote: "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6. The prophet was talking about God laying the burden of our sins upon Jesus.

Like this young man, you will need to come with the proper attitude. Like him, you will need to confess you sins, Romans 10:9-10... and if you have never been a spiritual son or daughter, you will need to be baptized into Christ so as to be clothed with the new robe of righteousness. Acts 2:38. Why not make this home-coming day? Return to the Father and allow Him to prepare a banquet for you.

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