Unwavering Conformity: A 21 Day Study in Stewardship, Day 3

Houses of Prayer; Houses of Light

David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, LORD,
the God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. LORD, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”
Then David said to the whole assembly, “Praise the LORD your God.” So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed down, prostrating themselves before the LORD and the king.

1 Chronicles 29:10-29 NIV

In anticipation of temple construction, David offers a remarkable prayer, a prayer that serves as a template or model for each of us as God’s stewards. The prophet Isaiah later refers to that very temple as God’s ‘house of prayer’ (Isa 56:7). And David himself anticipates that reality, declaring in Psalm 18:6, ‘In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.’ A house of prayer.

In Psalm 18:28, David uses imagery that permeates Scripture, saying, ‘My God turns my darkness into light.’ An unmistakable message. A house of light. Pastor John Timmer relates a simple story about a house in need of light:

“Once upon a time a man lived in a house without a window. Naturally, it was very dark inside his house. One day he said to himself, ‘I’m sick and tired of living in a dark house. I want to get rid of the darkness. I want light instead of darkness.’ 

So what did he do? He took a large pail, filled it with darkness, carried it outside, and emptied it. Then we went back into the house and did the same thing all over again. He filled the pail with darkness, carried it outside, and emptied it. He did this all day. But by the end of the day his house was just as dark as it had always been.

Then the man said to himself, ‘This isn’t going to work. This is not the way to get rid of the darkness. There must be another way. But how?’

That night he went to bed, very tired and very sad. But when he woke up the next morning, the answer came to him. ‘Now I know how to get rid of the darkness,’ he said. He took a big hammer, knocked a big hole in the outside wall, and made a window. Through this window the bright sunlight came pouring into his house.”

Our lives are like a house without a window. It’s dark inside. To make it light inside, we need a window, a window through which God’s light will come pouring into our lives.

Prayer is such a window. Without prayer our lives are dark. With prayer, our lives are light. Each time we pray, God’s light comes pouring into our lives.

Today God dwells in clay houses (see 2 Co 4:7) – houses that nonetheless reflect his glory to a sin-darkened world. Like breath, the light not only pours in but gets exhaled right back out! Houses of light; houses of prayer.

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