A House Is Not a Home
2 Samuel 7:1-12
Like David, we decide to do something dramatic and spectacular, and we convince ourselves it is for God. Maybe we decide to be extra generous at Christmas or birthdays; we’re going to give some really nice gifts. That’s not bad in and of itself. But who is that really for? The recipients? Or ourselves? Maybe we decide that this year we are going to give to missions, we are going to serve a meal at a shelter, we are going to sing for the homebound. And that’s great. That’s fine. But is it for them, or is it for us? Is it reputation building, or is it a heart of compassion?
For God says, “I don’t want show. I don’t want empty nothings. I don’t want decorator show-houses. I want you. I want to live in you. Monuments I don’t need, particularly since they are monuments to you. I don’t want a house; I want a home. And a house is not a home.
Don’t build this house, God said to David. Not only because it would have been a monument to David, and not a temple for God. But also, because that wasn’t God’s agenda. God’s agenda is not building houses, but homes. God’s agenda is not building structures, but people. God’s agenda is not filling institutions, but filling spirits. We invest ourselves in big dreams and plans, the noble works of our imaginations; but God invests Himself in lives, hearts and souls. God builds not houses, but homes.
Listen to how God told David; it’s a wonderful play on words: ... the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. ... Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me;
It’s a play on words. The word “house” is used in two different ways. David says, “Lord, I want to build you a house, a place to live, walls and a roof.” God says, “No, David, I don’t want you to build me a house, a place to live. Instead I want to build you a house, a family. I want to give you a lineage, a heritage. That’s the kind of house-building I want to do.
I want to take the raw material of human beings and make them into something fine. I want to take the sorry state of humanity and shape that. David, forget about the cedar and the ceilings; forget about the stone and the slate. Come see what I am doing, David; I am giving myself to your son and to your son’s son and to your daughter, and to your daughter’s daughter. I am giving myself to your house, David, but not to a house of brick and mortar. I’m giving myself to a home of flesh and blood. Remember, David, a house is not a home. And I am building a home.
The Lord wants to be in our hearts and in our homes. He wants to be in the lives and in the homes of poor, lonely, distressed, and sinful people. He wants to be among those whose houses are not perfect, and neither are their lives. He wants to settle down with those whose floors sag, and so do their spirits; with those whose windows are grimy, and so are their souls.
God’s agenda is people, making a home for Himself among people.
Let’s visit again tomorrow.