By Zac Poonen
In Exodus 25:8, we see for the first time, God revealing His will that He wants to dwell with man. God says there “Let them construct a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” That was referring to the tabernacle upon which the fire of God rested – the glory of God that marked those Israelites out as different from all the other people in the world. The most important thing about that sanctuary was the glory of God that rested upon it – and this indicated His presence among His people. The most important thing we must do is to make our home a sanctuary for God – not a place where we seek to please each other, although we should seek to please each other; not even a place to bless the other people, although our home should bless other people; but primarily a place where God can manifest His presence and where Jesus feels at home. God says “Let them make a place for Me to live”. A Christian home must be a place where Jesus feels completely at home. That means that He is happy about everything He sees there. He is happy about the books we read, the magazines we get, the conversations between husband and wife, the things we talk about, the programs we watch on TV and everything else. The most wonderful life we can ever live is one where Jesus is the centre of our life, and where everything in our home is determined by whether it makes Jesus happy or not – the way we spend our time, the way we spend our money, and the way we do everything else. If we live like that, then when we come to the end of our life, or if Christ returns before that, and we stand before Him, He will say, “Well done”. Whether our home is a palace or a hut – the outward appearance is secondary. It’s our heart that God sees. So make sure that our heart is a sanctuary – a holy place – for God to dwell in.
Where does God dwell?
1. A Home Where There is Peace: First of all God dwells in a home where there is peace. When Jesus sent His disciples out to different places to preach, He told them in Luke 10:5-7, to look for a home where there was peace. And when they found a home like that, they were to stay only there and not look for another home. Why did He say that? Because He knew that they would not find many homes where there was peace. God dwells in a home where there is no fighting. What do husbands and wives fight about in any case? Mostly about material things – some earthly matter that went wrong. Things will go wrong in this world. But when something goes wrong, remember that the only thing that is serious is sin. All other matters are secondary and unimportant. If we have bitterness at any time and won’t talk to each other because of earthly problems that will grieve God’s heart. Hate sin – because that is the only thing that can destroy our marriage. Remember that our home is to be a sanctuary for God. And if anything comes up that disturbs the peace in our home, it won’t be a sanctuary any longer. In everything we do, let us say “Lord we are not interested in whether men are happy with us or not; Are You happy? Is there anything in our lives, in our thoughts or our attitude towards one another that is making You unhappy? We want You to be happy in our home. Let us assess everything in our lives by this question: ‘Will this please the Lord?’ Remember what happened to the first home that God established. The devil was just waiting on the sidelines trying to come between Adam and Eve. And he succeeded. He succeeded in coming between Job and his wife too. And he succeeded in coming between Isaac and Rebekah as well. It is never God’s will that Satan should come between a husband and a wife. So may it never happen to us! May God be happy with our home always and may He grant us peace at all times.
2. A Home where Husband and Wife are Contrite and Broken: The second thing I want to say is found in Isaiah 57:15 God dwells in the high and holy place and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit. God dwells with those who are contrite and broken in spirit. A broken person is one who is more aware of his own lack and failure than anyone else’s. The world is full of people who are aware of the failures of other people. In the average home today, the conversation is mostly about the failures of other people and their families. We are quick to notice failures in others. But often, we don’t see the good points in those people. We have no right to throw stones at anyone, for we ourselves are sinners, saved by God’s grace. But hopefully, we are people who don’t want to keep on committing the same sin again and again – especially the sin of speaking about the faults of other people. We all know the difference between a bathroom mirror and a driving mirror. In a bathroom mirror we see our own face. In a driving mirror we see someone else’s face. It says in James 1:23-25 that God’s word is like a mirror. But is it a bathroom mirror or a driving mirror? Whose face do we see in it? Do we see in it a word to preach to someone else? Or do we see in it something that we are not obeying. It says in Hebrews 10:7, “In the Book, it is written about me.”
3. A Home Where Husband and Wife are Holy: God dwells in a home where the husband and wife walk in holiness every day. It says in Ezekiel 43:12 This is the law of God’s house – the entire area shall be Most Holy. The tabernacle had three parts – the outer court, the holy place and the most holy place. And of the three, the Most Holy place was the smallest. But here we read that in the new covenant, there will be no outer court or holy place. The whole area will be the Most Holy Place. That means that the glory of God under the new covenant will rest not just in one corner like in the tabernacle, but over the whole compound. What that means for our life is that we are going to be holy all the time – not just on Sundays but every day. We are going to be holy not just when we read the Bible, but when doing anything. Every nook and corner of our life and of our home is going to be holy. And holiness is not a matter of following certain religious rituals, but of avoiding everything that displeases God – according to the light that we have.