Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Proverbs 24:3-4 commentary; the house of God

3 ¶ Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

First, we need to clear up this mess about how a house is defined in the Bible. The word is often used in reference to a family comparing it to a building even though it can be just the physical structure based on the context. But, the first mention of the word house in any form is;

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

That verse did not say that Noah was to bring his three bedroom one story ranch style home into the Ark. It was talking about his family. And again;

Exodus 1:21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

And again, God did not provide low interest loans for the midwives to build two story colonials in the Egyptian suburbs. He gave them their own families. Now, on to the New Testament and the covenant under which Christians operate. While once again you can have house mean the structure in which you live or in which you live and in which you have your church body meet for worship and all of the churches met in someone’s house in the New Testament as there were no separate buildings set aside for church until late in the second century. Here, a pastor or bishop is to rule his own family well.

1Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

And here,

1Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

The wife has the responsibility for guiding the family as the husband would have traditionally had to work although remember, as it was in our own colonial days, the family was a basic unit of production, whereas now it is considered a basic unit of consumption. If you are really conservative you’d find some cottage industry that you could do from home and sell to the community or the world with the family working together. This was true in ancient Rome as it was in Colonial America. The idea of father going off to work in town while wife stayed home and dusted is new, not traditional. The predominant industry in our country’s earliest days was agriculture and the goods were produced in the home for use by the family and the surplus was sold if a town was nearby. When the industrial revolution hit us full force everything was turned upside down. The family life that most of you all think of as traditional today is a relatively new invention.

But, the Proverb points out that by wisdom a house or family is built and established by understanding. The Christian family must be built on the wisdom that is Christ. Christ must be the center of the home and everything done is for His glory and honor.

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

For a Christian family to be established, God has to give them understanding. None of this is accomplished by your good intentions. It is accomplished by your reliance upon and submission to the words of God read and heard from this Book and preached in sermons heard regularly lest your own flesh carry you off in your reading into some heretical thinking. Preaching should steer us on a straight course but the Bible itself is the vehicle in which we travel.

The church is not the building. It is the people.

1Corinthians 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

1Corinthians 14:23a If therefore the whole church be come together into one place,

1Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The confusion comes because there are verses that liken the family to a structure, a house, and the church as a structure. It‘s certainly not improper to talk about going to church but we have to always know what we’re talking about lest we confuse the church, the people, with that fascist ecclesiastical organization in the Vatican. Remember, the individual Christian is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The word, chamber, refers to a room in a physical house.

Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

So, the Holy Spirit can use references to a physical structure of a physical house to show us how we, the church, the body of Christ on earth are to be built. Precious and pleasant riches is a beautiful statement of how a church, a part of God’s family, the body of Christ on earth, is by His knowledge to be decorated and filled. God’s word is precious. Worship is precious and pleasant to God. Our testimony is precious and pleasant to God. Our mouths should be filled with praise and thanksgiving. These things are pleasant and precious to God. Our hearts should be filled with the love for God in Christ. That is precious and pleasant to God. Our prayers are precious and pleasant. We all, individually, come together at regular times as the body of Christ to worship as a group. This is precious and pleasant to God. The knowledge of God is the only lasting knowledge, the only knowledge of eternal value. By this knowledge we will fill our rooms.

So, we have seen how Christians are likened to a body with arms and legs, hands and feet, with the head as Christ in heaven, and we have seen how the body of Christ, the church, the house of God, is likened to a home with windows, doors, a floor and walls, with rooms filled with precious and pleasant things. Is that not beautiful or what?

We are told also to think on certain things.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We are told what is the proof of or the fruit of the Spirit of God if it truly dwells inside of us.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

So, let us build this house with God’s wisdom, establish it with God’s understanding, and fill its rooms by the knowledge of God with the pleasant and precious riches of His word, and the sweet things that God holds as valuable and good. It will be filled to overflowing, you can be sure.

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