The House That God Built

Imagine someone asking you to come by and see his new home. When you arrive, you find nothing at the address except an open field, filled with bundles of building supplies. A houseful of furniture sits amidst the piles of roofing, coiled wire, pipes and wallboard. Lumber sits stacked in piles four feet high, still bound together with metal shipping straps. You take a seat at a dining room table, across from your friend.

“Well, how do you like it?” He asks, beaming. “I’ve spared no expense. Only the best materials. This cherry wood flooring was shipped in all the way from Norway!”

“But where’s the house?” you exclaim. There’s nothing here but piles of building supplies! How is this going to keep you safe? What will you do when it rains? Where is the structure? The framing? It’s not put together!”

Your friend interrupts, “But it’s all right here! Everything I need to keep out the wind and the rain, to protect me and keep me safe is right here! All of that talk of structure and walls, well, it’s just too rigid for us. We are a bit more flexible than you, but it suits us just fine.”

You sit in amazement, speechless, as your friends pours a glass of wine. In the distance lightning flashes and the sky begins to darken. You pull your coat up around your shoulders.

“Don’t worry about us.” Your friend smiles. “We’re going to be just fine.”

Many Believers claim that all you need is love. A dear friend of mine reads nothing in the Bible but the sermon on the mount. He insists that all of that Old Testament stuff about God’s jealousy and anger is just, well, it’s just too rigid.

And of course he’s right. All you do need is love. The trouble is, that without structure and definition there can be no love that is functional. If there is no outside then there is no inside. Love has boundaries and outside of those boundaries there is no love at all. When we look to the Scriptures we see what love is and what it is not. God is love, of course. But love is not God.

The anger and jealousy of God, the passionate demands of God that separate His people from all others, these are the beams that give His love definition, that allows love to be meaningful in our lives. Within the boundaries of justice, righteousness, truth and purity is unlimited freedom. Outside of these walls lies the darkness; stormy bondages that masquerade as love, patience, hope and peace.

A love without boundaries can keep out nothing. It cannot protect us, or others. It leaves us open to the tumults of life and to the desires of our enemies. You can be sure that when the LORD prepares a table for you in the presence of your enemies, your enemies will not be sitting at the table with you.

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