Judges 2:10-3:31; Luke 22:14-34; Psalm 92:1-93:5; Proverbs 14:1-2
Normally, as I read my One Year Bible, I interact with the text in an on-going journal, noting connections or asking questions or praying Scripture. When it's my day to post, I read a bit differently: I do the above, but I also think about what would make for a post. Sometimes the off-hand questions about matching accounts or the personal prayers wouldn't be quite right for an entire blog entry!
Nothing jumped out at me today in the Old Testament (other than the fact that Israel must have failed spectacularly at the whole "teach your children" thing - see Judg. 2:10). Nothing caught my attention besides the symbolic beauty of Communion in our New Testament reading, and the only bit of the psalms that really made me think was Psalm 92:12-15, which I prayed for our parents this morning (actually, I prayed that it would continue to be true in our parents' lives, since it's patently apparent already!).
And then, BAM! Proverbs 14:1: "A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down" (emphasis mine). Oh, boy.
I remember the story of the wise builder, building on a foundation of stone, and the foolish builder who built on sand. I remember the admonition "unless the Lord builds the house, [then] the builders labor in vain" (Ps. 127:1) And I remember the parable in Luke where the wealthy man tears down his storehouses to build bigger and better storage for his crops, only to die that very night.
I'm home full-time with our five children. I've been an occupational homemaker for nearly fourteen years now, and I've got three more years before our youngest is in school full-time. I've done diapers and dusting and hundreds of meals. Additionally, Eric and I bought what the real-estate market euphemistically calls a fixer-upper (we'd call it "stripped before it got repossessed by the bank"). We've done two additions, a kitchen renovation, and three patio conversions. We've tiled and demo-ed and painted and sewed and refinished and scraped ceilings. You name it, we've probably done it. (Not electrical or plumbing, though - we hire those out!) Lots and lots and LOTS of house-building, both in the physical and metaphorical sense, both structure and infrastructure. House and family.
But I'm forced to ask at this moment whether I'm a wise woman or a foolish woman. How often do I slap something together on a foundation of sand? How often do I identify and labor over a "really-important" task that the Lord hasn't set before me or, worse, isn't in at all? How often do I focus on the future and my grandiose plans only to forget the present? Foolish building. How often do I use my words to lacerate a child, sinner though he or she is? How often do I tend to my own desires rather than live out the sacrificial love of Christ? How often do I want to be the greatest, rather than choose to be the one who serves (see Lk. 22:27)? Foolish builder indeed.
I don't want to be that foolish woman, tearing my house apart bit by bit. I want to be the faithful laborer, working diligently, prepared like Jesus described in Luke 21. I want to have a strong, sturdy home (again, physically and metaphorically) marked by safety and certainty.
To some extent, that's what my on-going investment in Scripture pushes me toward. I'm continually being shaped by God's word. Keeping the house-building imagery alive, daily time in the Bible sands away my rough edges, chiseling me into a more useful and more beautiful structure. But oh! How many splinters and gouges and cracks still need work! It helps when I surround myself with godly women - like my mom and sisters, like the women of my small group - who aren't afraid to show me when I'm tearing down my house with my own hands. It helps when I put myself under the teachings at church. And Eric, of course, as my partner in all my house-building, is a tremendous resource and sanctifying force.
Your house is different than mine. You may be male, or single, with grown children, or even living at home yourself still. Regardless, you are a builder. What you craft today, either wisely or foolishly, becomes part of your house's history.
Jesus, "establish the work of our hands for us" (Ps. 90:17) as we build like wise builders. Keep us from tearing our houses down with our own hands. Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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