Flourishing in the House of God
Flourishing in the House of God
– prophetic encouragement for the Lockdown
by David Webster
4th November 2020
It would be easy to go into the next Lockdown with a weary “here we go again attitude” and that would be totally understandable. Also, often our other life problems get magnified by the climate created by the pandemic.
Lockdown Survival Guide
Our daily newspapers and many other media outlets are publishing Lockdown Survival Guides. I read one recently in the Daily Telegraph which covered a wide variety of areas including: mental health, keeping in touch with friends and family, DIY (must finish painting the fence I half did in the last lockdown), working from home, style (dressing up, not slobbing out), beauty and grooming, kids activities, dieting, entertainment and developing relationships. Lots of great practical advice here.
Of course what was lacking was any reference to our spiritual lives!
Spiritual Survival Guide
I am not going to attempt an equivalent spiritual survival guide. I think most readers of this blog will be practicing the presence, worshipping God, listening to his voice, reading his word, growing in fellowship and love for others, giving generously and seeking to share their faith – Amen! So here is a little general (but nonetheless powerful) encouragement as we approach this season. It is rooted in two prophetic pictures I received recently.
Flourishing in the house of God
If you want to get more of the mind of Christ, read the Psalms regularly (it is Jesus most often quoted Old Testament book). In Psalm 52 we find this verse:
“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:8).
This verse is all the more powerful since it comes in a Psalm where David is once again under attack from his enemies and evil appears to have the upper hand. But he is flourishing because he is in the house of God. Likewise, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), our very bodies are his dwelling place. One commentator describes olive trees as evergreen, hardy, remarkably long lived, and its fruit as valuable, practical, versatile, life-sustaining and life enhancing. That is us – glory!
That leads me to my two prophetic pictures – both to do with trees.
Seasons of Fruitfulness
In a recent staff meeting, prophesying over one another, someone saw me as a large oak tree with many acorns falling off into the ground and sprouting young trees. They felt it particularly related to the training of preachers through the Kingdom Preaching Academy. I had been photographing trees the previous week and had taken some great shots of oak trees. The prophetic word in Isaiah 61:3b says of God’s people that we will be “called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.” So we all get to be oaks and will “bear much fruit”, as we remain in him, Jesus said (John 15:8).
Holy Spirit is moving among us
In a recent evening service the picture of the Oak tree came back to me again quite forcefully. This time the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully through the branches, shaking out the acorns, the fruit of the tree. The sense of the picture was that God was shaking out new ideas, new approaches to old ideas and practices and that we must be ready to respond to his prompting in all areas of our lives. Like the acorn that goes into the ground and dies, but then brings new life, so some may need to die to old ways of doing things and grasp the new.
That is what I saw and I trust that Holy Spirit will make it specific in your life. Ask him what it means to you.
Look forward to fruitfulness
The general encouragement I get from these two pictures is to look to be more fruitful in Lockdown, not less. This attitude will be key as part of your spiritual survival guide. Not merely surviving but flourishing in the house of God.
I’ll finish with the last verse of the Psalm:
“I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” (Psalm 52:9).