And he said, A certain man had two sons:…
By the Father's home we commonly mean the heavenly home, the sphere where the nearer and more immediate presence of God is realized. But heaven once included earth - earth was once a district of heaven. God meant this world to be a part of his own home; this, but for the separating force of sin, it would be now; and this, when sin has been cast forth, it will be again. And it is properly regarded as a home because the relation in which God wished its inhabitants to stand toward himself was that (and is that) of children to a Father. The truest picture, the nearest statement, the least imperfect representation of that relationship, is not found in the words, "A certain king had subjects," or "A certain proprietor had servants (or slaves)," but in those of our text, "A certain man had sons. Nothing so adequately represents God's position toward us as fatherhood, or our true position toward him as sonship, or the sphere in which we live before him as the Father's home. This family relationship means -
I. HIS DWELLING WITH US. God's dwelling with us or in us is very closely associated with his Fatherhood of us (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18). The ideal human father is one who dwells under the roof where the family resides; who is at home with his children, maintaining a frequent and a close and intimate intercourse with them. Such is God our Father's desire concerning us. He wishes to be near us all and near us always; so near to us that we have constant access to him; that our free, full, happy, unconstrained fellowship is with the Father;" that it is the natural and instinctive thing for us to go to him and make our appeal to him in all time of need.
II. HIS CONTROL OF OUR LIVES. God's purpose is to direct the lives we are living, to choose our way for us, even as a father for his children; so that we shall be going where he sends us, be doing his work, be filling up his outline, be walking in the path his own hand has traced.
III. HIS EDUCATION OF OUR SPIRITS. Our children come to our home with great capacities, but with no power. It is our parental privilege to educate them, so that their various faculties - physical, mental, spiritual - shall be developed, so that they shall gain knowledge, acquire wisdom, exert influence, be a blessing and a power in the world. God places us here, in this home of his, that he may educate us; that, by all we see and hear, by all we do and suffer, we may be taught and trained for noble character, for faithful service, for an ever-broadening sphere.
IV. HIS PARENTAL SATISFACTION WITH US. Perhaps the most exquisite satisfaction, the very keenest joy which fills and thrills the human heart, is that which is born of parental love; it is the intense and immeasurable delight with which the father and the mother behold their children as these manifest not merely the beauties of bodily form but the graces of Christian character, and as they bring forth the fruits of a holy and useful life. God meant and still means to have such parental joy in us; to look on us, the children of his home, and be gladdened in his heart more than when he looks on all the wonders of his hand in field and forest, in sea and sky. It is our docility, our affection, our obedience, our rectitude and beauty of character and of spirit, that constitute the source of his Divine satisfaction. The children of the Father's home are dearer and more precious far than any marvellous things in all the breadth of his universe. Thus God's thought concerning our race was to establish a holy family, himself the Divine Father; we his holy, loving, rejoicing, human children; this world a happy home. That was his thought in creation, that is his purpose in redemption. To its blissful realization the best contribution each one of us can make is to become his true and trustful child, reconciled to him in Jesus Christ, living before him every day in filial love and joy. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, A certain man had two sons: