After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’” ~2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Home. Such a simple yet complex word.
Is it the dwelling you live in?
Is it where your family is?
Is it a familiar setting?
Is it a place of origin?
What if I don’t have a solitary answer for any of these?
So…where is my home? This is a question I’ve pondered for most of my life and there is really no answer for this.
But home isn’t just about the ‘where.’ It’s also about the ‘who.’ And that in itself can also bring along a source of confusion, pain, and suffering.
Wherever you are coming from on this spectrum, you’re not alone. All of our earthly homes, physical or relational, are limited in its provision and can never fully satisfy us, no matter how great they are.
I know that my family will never be perfect. There will always be situations that are painful and hurtful - not that this gives me an excuse to slack off in my relationships. I’ll probably never fully feel at home in any given location.
In 2 Samuel 7:1-11, God tells David that He has been moving place to place along with the Israelites. He promises David that He will provide a place for Israel, and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own. The Lord Himself will establish a house for David and the Israelites. This is a magnificent promise. What an honour it is to receive such a gift from God.
As we get closer to Christmas, the birth of Christ this Advent, we, as gentiles have also been invited to a home that has been established by God through Christ. In the same way that God has moved with the Israelites, He has also been with us everywhere we have gone and will go. God is both watching us and protecting us.
This brings me great comfort. To know that when our earthly homes are confusing and mixed up, we still have one home to turn to that is steadfast, and is more than anything our earthly homes can provide. However, being a part of God’s home is not just a lofty idea that exists only in the heavenly realm. We are currently united with each other as brothers and sisters of Christ. We are all part of God’s family and collectively a part of God’s home together.
The thing about home, is that it is not a passive relationship. In a ‘healthy’ family, children obey their parents, not out of fear but out of reverence. Parents who are more mature, older, and wiser know what’s best for their children. It is a two-way relationship. An example that my parents love to use to explain this is one of a small child and a stovetop. A child cannot see the top of a stove, but the child’s parents can. When the child is told not to touch the top of a stove, the child listens because of their trust in their parents. When the child grows older, they will see and understand why they were told not to touch the hot stovetop. Of course, our earthly families will never be perfectly healthy. We’re all a bit dysfunctional. However, through Christ, we have access to a holy and perfect Father.
In that same vein, being a part of God’s home is also a call to obedience. We put our trust in the Father, and through our trust in Him, we flourish. We will not get burned by that hot stovetop. As we mature, God reveals parts of Himself to us, and we understand more. Our faith and love for Him grows. This is the relationship that God has invited us into, and the home that we have been adopted into.
As this Advent season closes, I invite you to join me in receiving God’s invitation into His home and family.
Sarah loves reading books, cafe-hopping, and eating Asian food. You are more than welcome to join her on any of these escapades. She also has an irrational love for cats (and buns - see the creature in her photo), so if you have a cat (or a bun), please contact her asap.