This summer at camp, I had a chance to sing a song that I had not sung since college - Big House by Audio adrenaline. It talks about how, when we get to heaven and live in God's house, we'll be able to experience his goodness, glory, and grace in some truly amazing ways.
There is a whole motif in the Bible of housing imagery. God's house is not merely a physical location for God. It represents the relationship that he invites us as his children to participate in. Psalm 84 is one of my favorite passages about living in God's house.
This Psalm resonates with me quite a bit right now because of all of the housing issues Vanessa and I are facing. We are trying to sell the house we have lived in (and loved) for four years - to no avail. We are trying to find a new house to live in - maybe one that will be permanent ("our forever house," as Emily Williams once said) or maybe a temporary one that will have to make due for some time.
Houses provide us with three primary things:
- Safety One of the basic needs of people is shelter. It ranks right up there with water, food, and clothes in the hierarchy of needs. On Survivor, one of the first things they do is build a shelter that can provide some safety from the elements.
- Security Beyond just the elements, houses provide us with security and peace of mind. It is easier to sleep at night in your own house than to be somewhere else.
- Status Like it or not, houses are a bit of a status symbol in human society. A person who is homeless is lower on the societal ladder than someone who has a home. And even, someone who owns their home somehow ranks higher than someone who rents. Even beyond that, the kind of house you own says something about the kind of person you are and the amount of money you make.
But, we ought to derive these things - our safety, security, and status - from God and not from our homes.
- The goodness of God provides us with our safety. Just as a sparrow can rest in the house of God, we too can find in him the safety we need in life. His goodness will determine what issues we face in life, whether they be difficult or easy. And it will sustain us, no matter what storms we face.
- The glory of God provides us with our security. His character and faithfulness means that he will keep his promises to us. He has promised to provide strength and refreshment for us, and his reputation is at stake. We can have confidence in him to bring glory to himself by keeping his word.
- The grace of God provides us with our status. We don't have what we have because of who we are or what we have done. It all comes to us because God has chosen to bestow his favor upon us. Even so, it is better to be a doorman in his house than occupy the place of prominence in some other house. God's grace is our everything.
If all of this is true, I have got to agree with the Psalmist - I would rather be with God in his house than anywhere else anyday.