austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

January 30

30 JAN – God Seeks a Dwelling Place (1)

What is that which is so near to the heart of God, with which all His interests are bound up? It is God present amongst men: God related to an organism as the Inhabitant, the Occupier, the Indweller of that organism. The simple, plain meaning of a ‘house’ is, surely, something to be dwelt in, to be lived in; it has no meaning unless it is inhabited. God’s thought is to be there, present, indwelling with the object of making Himself known and understood, and with the object of having blessed fellowship with that which comprises the ‘house’.

The Bible contains the history of that thought, that eternal and Divine concept through the ages. It begins with a very simple, primal expression of the thought: the man and the woman in the garden, and God present, walking in the garden, talking, communing, making His thoughts and intentions known. It is a picture of happy fellowship between God and man, man and God. Man is shown in relationship with God, in terms of friendship (if I may use that word), and on a basis of commission to be God’s regent here for the development and fulfillment of His purposes. Everything speaks of peace and order and beauty, and all that the human heart longs for. God has created for Himself a ‘house’, and is in it, and is walking in it, and talking in it. It is there in this simple first representation.

From that point, the Divine intention has a long and chequered history. Remember that all the actions of God are related to that one ‘thing’, and all the reactions in history, recorded in the Bible, are against that thing to drive God out, to exclude God, to bring about conditions in which God cannot be present, to which He cannot commit Himself. It focuses upon this one eternal desire of the heart of God.

You notice how much importance the apostle Paul attaches to this. “I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” And that is not completed even at that point, for he afterwards follows on by saying as something still lying ahead — I press on that I may know Him! He is a man who has a vast knowledge of the Lord but who is so aware of the tremendous importance and value of spiritual knowledge as to put all other things which are of account to men aside as worthless for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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