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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Build the House

With the proliferation of House-Flipper and Home-Renovation shows it has become very popular to improve the quality of a physical structure. This has become so popular that various experts in the real-estate market see an impending fall coming: another real-estate bubble. We saw this as we purchased a home recently, and several of the houses we looked at were what I called, “Flips Gone Bad” in which case it was clear that the flipper ran out of money before the house was ready to be sold, and the flipper would be fortunate to break even on their venture. House flipping and renovation are costly ventures and usually they cost much more than they are worth.

Let me take you to post-exilic Israel where another housing boom was in full swing. The year is 520BC (Haggai 1:1). After Ezra and others had led a multitude of Jews back to Judah and Jerusalem they had rebuilt their homes but had been stopped by the reigning government from rebuilding the House of God (Ezra 4:23-24). For eighteen years the Jews rebuilt their great houses, no detail was overlooked, and the neighborhoods were beautiful, with the exception of a big burned out husk of a temple at the top of Mount Moriah. If they had reality TV, I imagine everyone would have had their own show, and the view of a destroyed temple would be a turn-off for potential investors.


Then the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.”
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways. Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, that I may take pleasure in it and that I may be glorified, says the LORD. You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” declares the LORD of hosts. “Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the ground brings forth, on man and beast, and on all their labors.” – Haggai 1:3-11
The Israelites heard and responded, they rebuilt the temple. Everyone who had seen Solomon’s temple wept, but those who had not seen it rejoiced. And God promised that the glory of this temple would be greater than the glory of Solomon’s temple. For it was all pointing towards a better temple: Jesus said,
Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up...” He was speaking about the temple of his body. – John 2:19,21
Now, the application. It’s going to hurt. Brace yourself. The world says you ought to be working on your own house, on knocking down walls, on replacing cabinets, on improving the value of your earthly dwelling. But God asks if it is not time for you to be working on his house, on his dwelling? God is not looking for a home on Moriah, for he said,
The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…but the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. – John 4:21-24
The dwelling place of God is with man. You, Christian, are the house of God, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God (1 Corinthians 6:19). God does not dwell in houses made of stone, or brick, or wood, or gypsum, or granite, or marble; he dwells in the human heart.

Which house have you been building? A worldly house for yourself? Focusing on the necessities of this world? Or building the house of God, which is yourself?

One of these houses is stored up for fire, or a housing bubble collapse, or both. The other is stored up for glory, for usefulness in this life and in the life to come. There are no lack of Bible verses that speak to this topic, not least of all concerns storing your treasure in heaven, not on earth, where earthquake, flood, fire, wood rot, changing fads, etc consume. Repent of building an earthly kingdom, of focusing on things more than souls, check your motivation, build up the spiritual house of the Lord.

Beloved, I encourage you to read Psalm 132 today, and heed its exhortation. You may have a very nice place to rest your head tonight, but does God have a place in you? Pray with King David,

I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob. – Psalm 132:3-5
And never give up the renovation of his house while you still inhabit it,
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. - Philippians 1:6