God settles the solitary in a home;

he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,

but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 68: 6

 

God is a fisherman, God is a shepherd, God is lion, and God is King. All of these ideas are used to attempt to convey the nature and character of God, and all are quite accurate. He does go about the business of seeking after a catch of hearts and minds of people who would rather remain hidden away in the depths of our own sea of lostness and sin. Yet our Lord casts his net to bring in all varieties of humanity into His grace, love, and life. Our Lord is also the one who provides care and nourishment for us while protecting those precious hearts, minds, and even bodies from the harm that is attached like molecules of air to the atmosphere of this world. By way of His sheep tending metaphorical being, God also seeks after and searches tirelessly for any of us who wander away from His righteousness and life-giving presence.

 

When God is described as being a lion, I think of the proud and almost defiant image of a male lion with a full flowing mane and head half turned to look my way as if to say that He is in charge and that I am not. The lion image seems appropriate in that they are powerful and swift, guardians of their territory, and nurturing and caring with their pride. You do not want to encounter one when you are outside of its good graces, but you would certainly want one to provide protection from the evil forces of the wilderness. This description of God as lion leads to the concept that He is King. Yet, this title is far too limiting, for no king in all of history has had the sort of power, the absolute sovereignty, that the Lord possesses. He did not inherit this world, and no person placed its crown upon His head. God created it all as He imagined it into being. His rule over the universe is a part of the nature of that entity. God’s authority and the grace that is attached to it are what hold this world together despite the rebellious and destructive natures of its inhabitants. All that is good, righteous, and holy in this world is poured into it by God’s regal hand.

 

The thing that is most striking to me, however, is the fact that One who holds this much power, who rules over all that exists in the broad expanse of creation, and that works tirelessly to bring souls into His presence is the same God who reached out to my lost soul and called me into His presence. Then He has continuously provided my insignificance with the dignity and the calling of a person who has prominence in His kingdom and important work to do on behalf of the King. This kingdom of God, the place where I now dwell, is supplied with all that is required for myself and for all of creation to be sustained and to thrive. It is a place that is lush with the truth and the wisdom of the Lord. His grace flows out into streams of refreshing redemption, and the Lord’s love provides a covering for my weariness at day’s end. This place is where my heart finds strength, my mind encounters knowledge and wisdom, and my soul enters into the peace and the rest that it craves. My Lord has redeemed me, and He seeks to redeem all people from the harsh world as He provides us with a home in His presence.

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God settles the solitary in a home;

he leads out the prisoners to prosperity

but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 68: 6

 

This is a Psalm in which David talks about times of exile and exodus. These are times of homelessness and periods when the nation and the individual people were without a solid anchor to hold onto in their daily existences other than God. That is the point. Although home matters greatly to most of us, it is not something that we can affix to a specific place, to human relationships, or to consider as our right. Home is a gift from God, and it is fully appreciated and understood only from the frame of reference of dwelling with its provider, God, Himself.

 

Even the wanderer in a desert land or a prisoner in a cell can be home. The Israelites were still home when they were enslaved in Egypt. In fact, it might just be easier to grasp and to appreciate this reality from those hard and undesirable places. In those settings, the presence of God becomes all that there is to cling onto. When all of the earthly comforts that we appreciate and the social order that provides us with a sense of security are taken away, we can still feel the soul-deep peace that comes from the indwelling of God’s Spirit. In this sense, Christ is the one who grants the gift of home to me as dwelling in Him provides my heart and mind with all that I need to reside in the shelter of my Lord’s will.

 

God’s concept of home may not look like the one that I would portray, for He is not concerned with the number of rooms or with the quality of decorative finishes. The Lord also views prosperity differently than I do. He doesn’t need to count the funds in the bank or even to consider the reliability of a supply of food or clothing as indicators of well-being. The Lord blesses His people with the bounty of His kingdom of love, truth, grace, justice, and mercy. He brings His people into the fullness of His will and grants to us the abundance of His purpose for our lives. For me, dwelling in the presence of Christ creates my true home, and this is a place where my thirsty soul is filled with the cool water of Christ’s loving provision.