Boxes unpacked and everything in its place in our new home, it was time to perfect all the spots and rooms that were “missing” something. Armed with lists, sketches, and dimensions by room, along with paint and fabric swatches, I was determined to achieve a magazine-worthy décor. It was a process, but not to worry. I’m a great obsessor! Sadly, when I would walk around my house, rather than marvel at God’s goodness all around me, all I could see was want.
Sometime during that process, I came across Proverbs 24:3-4, and God’s exact word for me in that exact moment drew my heart to home design that pleases Him: “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
My focus was all wrong! House in verse three refers not only to a physical dwelling, but also to a family, the people in the household, and the line of descendents. Regardless of what provides shelter over our heads, a family is built, established, sustained, made permanent, and sometimes rebuilt through wisdom, forethought, and discretion. When we use the intelligence, skill, and insight we obtain by reading the Bible and listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us into all truth, we are able to discern, perceive, know, observe, mark, and distinguish what is necessary for our family to be ordered, settled and secure, prepared, accomplished, and headed in the right direction.
Now to fill the rooms. Rooms in verse four speaks not only of physical chambers, but also of the innermost or inward parts. The part of us encompassed or enclosed within. Our hearts.
Drawing from the same skills of observation, discernment, understanding, and wisdom, our family’s innermost parts are abundantly filled with precious and pleasant riches, which means each of us as individuals are armed, satisfied, and complete with substance that is prized by God. Things He deems rare, splendid, costly, influential, delightful, sweet, lovely, agreeable, and sweet sounding.
Interestingly, the root for riches means “vigour, generative power, physical strength,” probably from ‘aven, which means “ trouble, wickedness, sorrow, idolatry, trouble of iniquity” (www.blueletterbible.org, H202 ‘own and H205 ‘aven). Consequently, the riches with which I want to fill my house (and the hearts within) are exclusively available in Christ to enable us to vigorously walk in the generative power of the Holy Spirit in the face of any trouble, wickedness, sorrow, iniquity, and idolatry.
We are not going to find any of this in a home décor store!
So while my mind was occupied with envisioning a flawless décor, that’s not what makes a house beautiful at all! Pretty things are nice to look at, and walking into a room that is “done” brings me great satisfaction, but I don’t want my home to be attractive because of the right combination of seating, fabrics, accents, paintings, and perfectly positioned possessions. I want its true beauty to exist in the value of what’s contained within the people housed there.
To build a home is to build a family. To fill its rooms – its innermost or inward parts – is to fill the hearts of those within with precious and pleasant qualities and characteristics esteemed by God, not man.
What is delightful, sweet, lovely, agreeable, and sweet-sounding to the Lord? By no means is this list exhaustive, but here are a few things the scriptures tell us delight God:
A broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17);
A just weight (Proverbs 11:1);
Those who are blameless in His sight (Proverbs 11:20);
Those who deal truthfully (Proverbs 12:22);
The prayer of the upright (Proverbs 15:8);
The fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:3);
To understand and know Him, that He is Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth (Jeremiah 9:24);
Singing, meditation (of the biblical, not New Age kind), and being glad in Him (Psalm 104:34);
Sacrifices (of the giving up self kind, not animals) to and for Him (Philippians 4:18);
Love (I Corinthians 13:1).
Is it time to redecorate? Refresh a few rooms? Address a few heart issues?
We have plenty to keep us busy around my house!
My home is never truly finished in my eyes. There’s always something that just isn’t quite done. I’ve been in my home five years and just last week finally figured out a hardware and fingertip towel combination for my powder bath. Now if I could just figure out what to do on/behind my toilet! You see, as soon as I seem to finally have everything just the way I want it, I discover an item or look that’s outdated, or my tastes have changed, and it’s time to start refreshing.
In the same way, we will never be perfected this side of heaven. We will always be a work in progress as God finishes what He started in us when by grace He turned our hearts toward Christ.
Fortunately, though, the biblical principles we instill in our “house” never go out of style. God’s word never changes and it never is outdated and it never gets old. Our spiritual decorating efforts have eternal value and will always be in style.
Lord, fill our innermost parts with precious and pleasant riches that reflect Your splendor and bring glory to Your name as we become more wholly Yours today.