HOME: All Is
Vanity Without The Lord
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Ephesians 4:17-18, Psalm 127:1
If you have your Bible handy,
please join me in Ecclesiastes 12. Solomon helps us to define
a very important word in Ecclesiastes: the word "vanity."
The word comes from the Hebrew word from which we get "meaningless,
empty, without purpose." Solomon wandered away from
God. His relationship with the Lord grew cold and left a
terrible emptiness within his heart. As a family man, it
would have been so much better for his family and for him
just to walk back into God's presence, repent of the sin
in his life, and restore that right relationship. But, as
we all know, and many of us have experienced, that is far
easier said than done.
In his state of wandering,
he realized that he had all the money and resources he needed
to do anything he wanted to do. In his pursuit of purpose
in life, we learn from the book of Ecclesiastes that he
pursued science, the laws of nature, wisdom and philosophy,
pleasure and materialism, as well as living for the moment.
They, no doubt, seemed briefly satisfying, but, in the end,
he wrote this:
all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every
deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil"
It should come as no surprise
to us that the wisest man who ever lived arrived at this
conclusion. Having pursued all the vain things life had
to offer, he concluded that living for God was the only
thing that mattered. He knew it all along. But oftentimes,
that which we know in our heads gets lost trying to find
its way to our hearts. When it comes to our homes, many
people today are pursuing that which is vain, meaningless,
empty, and without purpose. Even some of us. When we wonder
why we're having so many problems at home, we'd be wise
to come to the same conclusion as did Solomon. And, hopefully,
we'll avail ourselves of his heartaches instead of having
to experience our own.
Next, look with me at Ephesians
4:17-18. This passage provides us with a New Testament counterpart
for this word "vain:"
I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you
must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility
of their thinking.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from
the life of God because of the ignorance
that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
In other words, God says, "Don't
live as unbelievers live. Don't base your life on the things
on which they base their lives, don't develop your work
ethic from theirs, don't build your homes like they do."
And on and on it could go. And he tells us why: it's futile.
Finally, think with me about
Psalm 127. If we are told in Scripture that everything about
the world's system is vain, futile, empty, and without purpose,
then why do so many of us believers pattern our homes after
the world? You could walk into a lost person's home and
easily tell it is a lost person's home. And then you might
walk into someone's home who claims the name of Jesus and
his or her home might not be any different. You might hold
up both homes to the Light and see that both read the same
books, the same magazines, go to the same movies, raise
their kids alike, speak the same way to their spouses, hold
to the same values, and give God the same place of insignificance
in each home. It's truly sad. So, then, how do we go about
building homes that honor God? If I can't rely on the world's
guru's for step-by-step plans for building my home, on whom,
then, can I rely?
For starters, we must realize
that the world doesn't support the biblical idea for home.
Any instructions given by the world for building up the
home would, more likely than not, be considered by believers
as a step-by-step plan for tearing it down. Traditional
family values upon which our nation was founded are now
seen as backwards, old, things we can do without. Traditional
family values have been understood for years but, now, attempts
to redefine them are pouring in from all sides. As a reminder
of this, we need only revisit issues from the last election.
So, where do we turn? For the
answer, we must look into God's Word because, again, it's
the only reliable blueprint for building the home. One of
the best answers is found in Psalm 127:1 where we read:
the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand
guard in vain.
Now there are two truths here
I want us to labor over as we shore up the foundation for
our homes. First, this word "house" in this Psalm
comes from a word that can mean house, palace, temple, etc.
It's the word used for the structure that was being built
that we know as the tower of Babel. It's the word David
used when he told God he wanted to build a temple for him,
and the word Solomon used when he actually built it. So
we see the truthfulness of this statement right off the
bat because it says, "Unless the Lord builds the house…"
The Lord's face was against Babel and it quickly failed
as a building project; it's builders labored in vain. The
Lord's strongly supported David's plans for and Solomon's
work on the temple of the Lord and it was a tremendous success.
That we use this same word to refer to the Lord's building
of and building up of our homes is
not a stretch at all, for the word can refer to anything
Therefore, unless the Lord
builds your house and mine, unless the powers of heaven
are invoked over the building of our homes, unless we seek
first our great God in erecting a home that honors the Lord…what
does the rest of that verse say? "…it's builders labor
So, secondly look at the word
vain. Haven't we seen that word already? Yes, but one thing
I waited to mention until now is this. The word "vain"
carries with it a word picture. In short, it is a child's
breath. When, on a cold day, a child plays and runs and
kicks, and races outdoors, it's easy to see his or her breath.
As quickly as the child's breath appears, it disappears,
it is gone, vanished. The space in which we saw it is suddenly
empty. The idea behind this word picture as it relates to
"vain" is that it is fleeting. As quickly as the
labor on Babel dissipated, so fleeting is the support for
the home built without God.
Why? Because, as is reflected
in the title of this message, the home was created by the
Lord and must, therefore, be sustained by Him. You see,
since God created the home, He also created your home.
In Colossians 1:15-17, the Bible says,
is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all
creation. For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him. He is before
all things, and in him all things hold together."
Jesus is both the creator and
sustainer of your home, according to this passage. So, first,
He created your home and, second, if you are allowing Him
to build your home, He is also sustaining it.
A very successful entrepreneur
let his portfolio go to his head. He had all but conquered
the business world so he felt he was ready to wrestle with
God. He claimed he could do anything God could do and, so,
he challenged God to a contest. The Lord graciously accepted
the wager and met him for a round of "creating."
The man looked at all of creation and said, "I can
do that!" God simply nodded and said, "Why don't
we start out with my finest creation of all . . . man. I
created man from the dust of the ground. Let's see if you
can do that." The arrogant billionaire gave a cocky
chuckle then bent over to scoop up some dirt. God calmly
reached over to the stooping man and said, "You have
to use your own dirt" (Max
Lucado, UpWords, Dec. 1999, Tape T2099).
You see, there are a
lot of things we can do in and of ourselves, but only God
can create a successful home. Are you letting Him create