Unless the Lord builds the house

The Standard May 27, 2021

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic the cost of lumber has risen by 252% in the last year, which the National Association of Homebuilders says is partly why the average price to build a single-family home has increased by more than $24,000. March 2021 was the hottest month in U.S. housing history since at least 2012, according to online real estate site Redfin. 42% of homes sold above list price, and often not just a few thousand dollars above.

While Scripture does not discuss high construction costs or hot housing markets, it is full of metaphors regarding houses and how we should build our lives and focus our households.

David or Solomon wrote, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Psalm 127: 1)

In the Book of Proverbs we learn the importance of wisdom for almost every facet of life. ”The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1) “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.” (Proverbs 14:11)“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” (Proverbs 24:3-4)

Jesus told a parable about two builders, one who was wise and the other who was not. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise person who built their house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish person who built their house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Finally, we find wonderful reminders in the epistles that God is the ultimate builder with Jesus as the cornerstone and us as God’s workmanship. “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:1-4)

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)

Despite skyrocketing costs to build or buy a home, our access to God remains constant. We can build our house on the most firm and trustworthy foundation, and the price already has been paid.

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