Let Us Go To The House of the Lord.
Sometimes the Psalms do not help us with our theology. This can be true of ‘worship’ leaders and song writers songs today too. When the Psalmist’s words were written they held a certain theology and concept of a place of worship that does not hold true for us now. I think the same was actually true for them too, but like us an obsession gets built into places to go to rather than the place we stand in right now. When David wrote the words, ‘come let us go up to the house of the Lord’, he was captured by a physicality, a geography, a place that was deemed more holy than any other. A place where there was rank and selection of special people to positions, areas sectioned off for the called or chosen. The house of God was separated from the rest of life by tents and partitioning, and later the building of a Temple. This whole theology of going to the house of the Lord is now captured by the church. We go up to a place that is separate from the rest of life, a place that has special positions for special people. A place that we leave to enter back into the real world. This whole concept and theology creates a ‘guilt’ culture then for those who miss or do not go, because surely everyone would want to go to the house of God. Surely that is the place where every believer should gather. To neglect that is to neglect going into God’s presence. It is to neglect listening to the Psalmist lead the worship. It is to neglect hearing the man of God share the Word of the Lord. This place of holy ground where everyone acts in reverence and awe and dresses in their finest and acts their best. ‘God is in the house’ we all say when we ‘feel’ Him there, which seems to be the aim of a good meeting in the house of the Lord. This all seems great until we realize something important, God does not dwell in buildings! He revealed this in the garden, He told this to David via the prophet, He revealed it through Christ and continues to reveal it through life in the Holy Spirit. In fact Christ ripped the curtain of such theology at the cross, so why do we insist on rebuilding what Christ came to tear down? Why did David still insist on passing on his instructions to his son, handing down bad theology? He may have had a heart after God and right motives, but that does not create correct belief and behavior. God told him point blank I don’t want a building and David missed the point. God keeps telling us and we keep missing the point. His house is not a place but people, creation, no walls, no floors, no ceilings. We are His house, His dwelling place is amongst men. Let’s stop looking for it as a physicality.
Jacob was a bit of a boy, a trickster, a typical competitive brother. Along with his mother he took part in a great robbery of his brother’s birthright. This landed him in a bit of a situation where he ended up on the run. A fugitive. In a wilderness place where there were no hotels or barns to sleep in he found the comfort of a rock to sleep under the open stars. As he slept he had a dream of angels and ladders and of God Himself. In the dream God renewed His covenant with this trickster, this con man. A covenant revealed to His father and grandfather before him. When he awoke his first words were ‘surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it…this is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven.’ This wilderness, this border place? A physical place? To Jacob it became a physical place that he would return to as he laid up an altar there. Yet I think Jacob gained something and lost something in a few small moments. This abandoned spot with only a stone for a pillow was not the house of God as a physicality, it was the house of God because Jacob saw it, that God connects earth and heaven even in the middle of nowhere all of the time, even when we do not realise it. If Jacob had not had that dream it would have been the house of God, because God dwells amongst men. While Jacob was at home with his family that would have been the house of God, because God dwells amongst men. Where I sit right now is Bethel, the house of God, because God dwells amongst men. It is just like Jacob we often do not recognise it. It is not until we have an encounter or a manifestation that our eyes are opened, but even when we do not see He dwells with us and we dwell with Him. There is no building that could contain Him. I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, and yet He dwells in creation too. His house is where I sit or stand or walk continually and it has many rooms. I cannot go up to the house of the Lord because I dwell there now. I do not have to put on my Sunday cloths or talk the right talk because there is a dwelling in every day life. We are the house of God.
The House of God.
We are the House of God, His dwelling
Under an open heaven we live
Built on the solid rock of Jesus
We are His Kingdom come
We are the House of God
This house is alive
And this house is a bride
And angels are at home
Inside this house
(John Waller House of God)