I want to invite you in the next few days to join me on a journey to my Father’s house. Along the way we will stop from time to time to enjoy the incredible views and take in the surrounding scenery.
Before we set off though perhaps we should take some time to have a clearer picture of our intended destination – for Father’s house is sometimes misunderstood and misrepresented. So bear with me as we try and brush away some of the cobwebs from our thinking in order that we will have a clearer idea of all that Father’s house represents.
The concept of “The House” is one which we find used often throughout the Bible. The earliest mention of “The House” is recorded in the book of Genesis [Genesis 12:1] where God instructed Abraham to leave his “Father’s House” for another land to which He would direct him. The context and impression conveyed would tend to indicate that this is more than a simple instruction to leave a building, for it is also expressive of leaving all that relates to his natural relationships. In other words it is a spiritual as well as a physical act – a separation of heart as well as from home.
The fact that “The House” in scripture is representative of much more than a building becomes crystal clear in later passages, such as in the book of Numbers, where a “Father’s House” is representative of a whole clan numbering thousands of people. Fast-forward two generations to Abraham’s grandson Jacob – a man who holds the key to a completely fresh revelation of “The House”. During an overnight camping expedition on his way to Padan Aram, God revealed himself to Jacob in an incredible dream. When he woke Jacob realised that his encounter with the living God was something extraordinary and exclaimed – “How awesome is this place! This is none other that the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17 NKJV) Interestingly it appears that even back then houses had gates at the entrance to the premises! At that moment in time Jacob stood at an invisible gate looking at a place where the eternal “House Of God” had entered time. And, the purpose of this invasion was to give revelation and direction. Jacob would name the place “Bethel” (House of God). It would later become a great centre of worship for the Jewish people. However, it is of great importance to grasp at this point that the “House of God” preceded the Temple of God. In other words – God does not require a temple or building for His House!
At its most basic then a house is a dwelling place. Consequently the house of God is the place of his dwelling. In the Targum, the Aramaic translation of the Old Testament, Isaiah records that the angels in heaven cried out – “Holy in the highest heaven, the house of his presence, holy upon the earth, the work of his might, holy for endless ages is the Lord of hosts ….” (Isaiah 6:3).
In addition to being a dwelling place, a house is normally the place of family fellowship, a place of intimacy and a place of security. It is also a place in which we seek rest and relaxation as well as sustenance and refreshing.
As we will discover later our Father is jealous for his House – he wants nothing unclean or impure to enter and distract from its primary purpose. In light of what we have said, we can safely assume that where the “House Of God” is manifest a number of things will be found. First of all it really is, as Jacob discovered, an “awesome” place! It is also a place were we will feel safe and secure, loved, at rest and well fed. Here we will have no sense of want or distraction – satisfied always and only with the abundance of “The House”. Within its walls we will aslo discover a place of revelation and direction for life and living.
To be continued …