Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Different Kind of House

Over the past five years, I’ve had the same dream. I’m in my new house—sometimes in the living room, other times in the kitchen or descending the stairs. I am happy as I hear my children run from room to room. I thrill in the closet space and extra room. I am comfortable because this house is sealed tight.

But too many times to count, I have awakened to the reality of a 40 degree room where I breathe in the cold air and shiver under the electric blanket as I snuggle closer to my husband.

I am one of many who dream of owning a home.

In 2004, 69% of Americans owned a piece of that dream. Then came what some have called an “epidemic of foreclosures” such that by the second quarter of 2009, home ownership had fallen to 67.4%. As one journalist said, “That may seem a slight difference, but every percentage point equals roughly 1 million people.”

Approximately 1 ½ million people thought they had achieved this part of the American dream only to discover it was still beyond their reach. Disappointment didn’t begin to describe their feelings. One study by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that “nearly half” of homeowners undergoing foreclosure “reported depressive symptoms, and 37 percent met screening criteria for major depression.”

Would it help to know that God could build them a house that would last well beyond their death?

In 2 Samuel, David wanted to build a house…not one for himself, but one for God. The temple. And God said no.

But then, God turned the issue around as only God can do: “The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (7:11-13,16).

God said He would build a house for David! But this wasn’t a physical house of wooden beams, stone, or bricks and mortar. This was a house of people—sons, daughters, grandsons. This was a kingdom, a lineage…one that would lead directly to Jesus and His eternal throne.

David understood what God meant, and he was humbled: “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future” (v. 18-19).

And when David accepted God’s blessing, He did so not for his own personal glory but for God’s: “do as You have spoken, that Your name may be magnified forever” (25b-26a).

Take in the magnitude of what one man’s obedient heart for God did in transforming his entire family line.

This is the kind of “house” I want God to build for me—through my children, my children’s children, and for all generations born until Jesus comes again. I want my relationship with God to be so incredibly all-consuming that my whole house is transformed beyond what is humanly possible and that God alone will be glorified.

No, God has not promised me, like David, a house enthroned forever, but He has promised me life everlasting with the one who sits upon that eternal throne. And He has promised I can have an impact on future generations of my family: “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:5-6)

Deuteronomy 7:9 repeats this promise to “A thousandth generation” for those who love the Lord with all their heart.

When I understand the word “house” in God’s economy, that physical house I desire so much just seems like such a small dream in comparison to this God-sized dream of a house that has the power to cross time down through the generations of my family that I will not live to see.

Five years ago while my husband and I were driving through the mountains of Arkansas to meet with a builder about our physical house, God was meeting with me in the quiet places of my heart, showing me how He desired to rebuild my heart so that it would desire Him more than anything.

As I poured over house plans to ensure everything was perfect, God was pouring His Spirit over me and demolishing strongholds in my life so He could craft me into the perfect image of His son, Jesus.

And as I sadly tucked away the tube of rolled-up house plans, hidden on a top shelf, God was busy hiding His Word in my heart and showing me what true joy is.

Through my obedience, God has already started building a house of lovingkindness for my family and for His glory alone. Whether we take the time to consider it or not, we’re all building houses for future generations of our family—houses of God’s iniquity or houses of God’s lovingkindness.Which house are you building?

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