Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she places her young by Your altars, O LORD of Hosts, my King and my God. (Psalm 84:3)
However weak we are, however poor, however little our faith, or how small our grace may be, our names are still written on His heart; nor shall we lose our share in Jesus’ love. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Whatever else is attached to the biblical meaning of grace, the idea of an eternal home is an inseparable part of its understanding. Home means the place where we are accepted and loved, cherished, valued, safe, nourished, and where we never fear being thrown out. Home is where we belong, where we fit in, and enjoy and are enjoyed. God’s grace in Christ gives us an eternal home.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)
The psalmist worshiped at the temple and his heart cried out for God, as a child cries for mother and father, for God is the sustenance of our hearts. There the poet saw a nest of sparrows, then one of swallows, the most common of birds, fragile, small, practically unnoticed, feeding their young. The images struck a chord in his heart as the Spirit moved within him – God’s eternal home is like that, where even the most mundane of His children find safety, provision, and love.
This knowledge of God’s love for us and of His eternal provision for us is where we start our Christian life. Life on this earth can be touched by God today because He has promised us heaven. Our generations have improved life on earth so much lately, that we have developed a type of Christianity that leaves most of its prospects earthbound. But biblical faith does not do that – it starts with heaven, and tells us that it is our eternal home, and then begins to explain life on earth to us as members of God’s eternal family.
It is not that we struggle here to earn our spot there, but that by God’s grace we are purchased as God’s inheritance, and from that future and sure promise, we now live out our lives here, experiencing daily the graces of heaven while traversing this earth. Like Abraham, we are strangers here.
By faith [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God… These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13)
The Valleys of Baca
As the poet worshiped at the temple the Spirit continued to inspire thoughts in his heart. He recounted the journey he and others had made on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and compared it to all of life.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion. (Psalm 84:5-7)
The Valley of Baca was dry and arid, and it stood in this passage for all the struggles of life. We take solace in the assurance that God works for our good in all circumstances, in everyone of life’s struggles, to develop the character of Christ in us (Romans 8:28-29). Along with His Spirit and His Word, He uses the deserts of life to mature our character.
Yet we are not to keep our eyes on the “valleys of Baca” but on the home of God. We are going some place, and not endlessly circling through the struggles of life. Grace calls us forward. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).
Serving at the Doorposts
Again the poet looks to the temple and sees a simple servant there, one of the “lesser” priests, but he opens the door for others. Oh, the thought strikes him, what finer job can a man have than that, to open the door to the home of God for others? The Spirit inspires him and he burst forth in verse again:
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)
Is this not what God has called us all to be? To be those who open the door into the home of God for others? Because Christ has prepared for us a home, we can invite others to come in as well.
People come into the family of God through personal repentance from sin and faith in Christ Jesus. The simple belief that Christ took our sins upon Himself as He died on the cross, and that he was buried and rose from the dead on the third day, this is what it takes to come into the family of God – to turn from sin and self and turn to Christ in faith.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for dying for me, for paying the price of my sins. I repent from my sinning and turn to You in faith. I believe You are, as You said, “The resurrection and the life,” and whoever believes in You “shall not die but have eternal life.” Save me, and prepare for me the eternal home my heart longs for. Amen.