Summary: The Prodigal went to "a distant country". "The Distant Country" is not a foriegn state, but rather a sinful state of mind....that leads to ruin. But there is a way back.
“There was a man who had two sons. the younger one said to his father, ‘father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger Son got together all he had, set off for a distant country....”
The “distant Country”. The young man moved to a distant country because the stuff he had a yen to do was the kind of stuff that his father would not approve of. He would spend what resources his father gave him in the way that he wanted, and he would do it in the distant country.
You know that place, I’m sure. You have been there. Even if you’ve never left this country, you have been to the distant country. For the distant country is not a so much a foreign state as it is a state of mind. You go to the distant country when your mind becomes bent on doing what your Father in Heaven would not be pleased with, and when you do it with the stuff which he gives you, which is basically all that you are and have.
Yeah, you know about the distant country. You might actually be living in it right now! How can you tell? Well, citizens of the distant country have some very different customs and attitudes toward life, different than what you learned in the house of your father in heaven. If you are living there, you will have adopted some or all of their customs and attitudes.
Tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to give you a quick snapshot of the culture of the distant country, and you’ll see what I mean and you can come to your one conclusions about where you are now living: In the house of your Father, or the distant country.
In the distant country, its all about the self. The self is supreme. This is their “core value”. It controls almost everything they think, and say and do. The motto of the distant country is “what is in it for me?” In every conversation that they have, they always manage to return the conversation to the subject of themselves. In every action the take, they seek to gratify the desires of the self.
They do get married in the distant country, but only for selfish reasons. Their idea of love is one-sided. They deserve to be loved because they love themselves so much and everybody else must love them equally. They expect to be loved by everybody, but do not love anybody but themselves.
They also have children in the distant country, but only because it will help them to feel “fulfilled.” In the distant country, parents lose control of themselves at little league games because others do not seem to honor these little emanations of themselves.
Indeed, you have seen the distant country! It’s an ugly place. But have you seen it in yourself? All of us will see bits and snatches of it from time to time. That fight with your husband or wife. That cutting remark fired off at one of those little ones whom God has given us. If you look at what’s at the heart of these things you will find that almost every single time it originates from self infatuation. People simply do not give you the honor and respect that you believe you so richly deserve! Boo! Hoo!
That’s the distant country coming out of you! You have assimilated some of its customs. Actually, you were a natural born citizen. You were born sinful. The distant country was the nation of your birth. Your father in heaven, saw you and adopted you and made you part of his household and began to teach you his ways and his customs, which are better by far. But sometimes, everything around you and in you is beckoning you to return to the nation of your birth, to return and settle down in the distant country.
But you will not really like it if you return. As we learn in parable. For the time came when the wayward Son had spent everything---he used up what resources his father had given him and he found himself in want.
He ended up working for a farmer feeding pigs. To the Jews, who were his original audience, pigs were considered unclean, and to work in the service of pigs was about the worst job imaginable. To put it plainly, he was miserable. And his misery was of his own making.
There comes a time when a life of self-indulgence yields it ugly paycheck. The beckoning voice of the distant country, never tells you that when it seeks to claim you. It speaks of all the private fun you can have when you are away from your father in heaven. It trumpets the freedom to do whatever you want. And when you first arrive there, it seems like freedom of the most profound sort. But with time, you discover that you are actually enslaved, enslaved to your own sinful desires. Sin will own you and not only own you but destroy you and claim you for eternity.