God is building a house, a house that looks like nothing ever built by men. This house is central to his purpose, a purpose which has driven him throughout all of history.
Before he created anything God wanted a house, a home to call his own. All of the wonder of our infinite universe was created with the plan of a house for God at its centre. But the house of God was not built in six days. At the conclusion of creation as God rested there was no completed house.
Instead there was a garden. God planted the garden of Eden in the east. That word east is the first real clue to the house of God. East is not just a point on a compass. It also suggests the eternal spiritual realm. Eden was not just on earth. It was the place where the earth and the heavens touched.
And God placed man, the only creature made in his image, in that garden. The garden of Eden was to be the home of men but it had another purpose. It was also the place where God and man met. God walked with Adam and Eve in Eden. He spoke with them in Eden. God and man had fellowship together in Eden.
That garden was perfect but it was not complete. In Eden God and man could meet together but God was only ever a visitor to the garden. At no time did God choose to dwell in Eden. It was not adequate as a house for him. He could visit but he would not stay. The reason was simple, Eden was not the end of God’s intentions but the beginning.
When man fell Adam and Eve had to leave the garden but God’s desire for a house was unchanged. The purpose of God in creating Eden was not changed. God still intended to have his home but God is choosy about his house and for a while the idea drops out of the Genesis story until one day God visited the pagan city of Ur and spoke to one of the city’s inhabitants.
God’s word’s were simple. ‘Leave your home and family and follow me to a place that I will show you.’ It wasn’t much of an offer but for the first time God found a man who was wanted to follow God. I sometimes wonder if God had called other men before Abraham. Was there a Pharaoh, a Chinese emperor or some European warlord? I don’t know but I do suspect that Abraham was not the first man God called.
Either way Abraham was most certainly the first man to say yes. He left his country. He left his wider family. He left his own home.He left everything he knew to search for a place he did not know, a place where God would build his home. God’s purpose was back on track.