Being with God is like dreaming with God. This with God reality is the purpose of prayer. Seeing clearly visions full of possibility and promise expand our world. Our dreams for the future are the fuel from imagination and desire. Authors, artists, and poets master this so well. Prayer involves imagery. Joel 2 talks about this, where God will pour out his Spirit and the result is imagery, visions, and dreams.
An image evokes emotion and attraction. Basically you see it and consciously or subconsciously move towards it.
When dreaming about a future house design, you often are looking at the details and materials for the finish work long before the foundation is poured, imagining a future harmony in your relationships due to a well designed traffic flow. In advance you give thought to broad windows which allow a sunlit summer day to flood the home with warmth and light. Your future reality is designed and dreamt long before an exchange with family will occur over a shared meal at the table. Oh the dream of a home, a peaceful secure place to rest each night, the appeal is universal. Jesus uses this kind of imagery when discussing prayer.
Awake Micro Group #icebreaker, describe your dream house.
King David one of the most pronounced writers of the Psalms, (the handbook of all prayer) dreamt of building God a house. He in peace and security, at rest in his home questioned why God’s home was in a tent. He lived with God in such a way as to perceive if I am settled shouldn’t God be settled? If I am established shouldn’t God be established even more so? The interaction between David and God through the prophet Nathan is worth reading, check it out in 2 Sam 7. The passage is full of imagery, David dreams about a structure for the Lord. The Lord responds with imagery of his own. Phrases like, ‘I took you from the pasture, I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, I will give you rest’. God speaks of what he wants to give David. He promises David his son will build a house for God and be fathered by God. And after God answers, David prays. ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know.’ (2 Sam 7:18,21) Prayer is the vehicle for communion with the One who sustains, the God who gives rest, the Lord who raises men, women, and nations up for his purposes. Prayer is all around this original conversation, the original dream of a house for God. Dreaming, speaking, responding with the Author of life is throughout the Psalms. And here you and I are invited to do the same.
After David died God built the temple (the ancient house of God) as He said He would, in Jerusalem through Solomon, David’s son. (the builder of all things is God, Heb. 3:4)
Historical fact, the temple is destroyed when men forgot the original intent, when pride replaces communion with God. It is rebuilt years later prior to the arrival of Jesus. Jesus enters the ‘second temple’ in Matthew 21 and here in the reality of David’s dream Jesus reiterates two prophet’s words thousands of years after they spoke them. The purpose, is retold, the same outline is represented, like the way a song is rediscovered by a new generation years later. Jesus connects imagery for us again to understand the longing of God for us, when looking over the city he says, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.’ (Matt. 23:37) God desires to be with us, and we have a choice.
Twice in Jesus ministry once in the start and after the entry into Jerusalem he cleanses the temple. He has a clarifying conversation so to speak.
The second time he clears out the temple from those making profit due to the selling of sin and guilt offerings Jesus, the son of David walks in authority as the perfect representation of God’s mind and will. (Col. 1:15)
Jesus is there to set the stage. HE is ready to offer the first and last perfect sin and guilt offering ever needed, his own body and blood. God’s will is to love the murderer, the sinner, the outcast, enough to restore the guilt defeated soul. He is full of the zeal of God as we see the passion of Christ to put the house finally in perfect order. This language of a house in order is so biblically thick, it is full from Genesis to Revelation. God through the prophet Isaiah and Jeremiah described with vivid imagery the house God wanted, the way he wanted it, the design He had in mind. The house of God was to be a house of prayer, facilitating the conversation, the connection, the close proximity of God and his creation. Jesus calls out the misuse.
Matthew 21: 12-13 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,”he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.
If we will make it a house of prayer God will make it a house of healing.
14-16 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.“Yes,”replied Jesus, “have you never read,“ ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’ ?”
Jesus is quoting Psalm 8:2 written by David. Jesus is shadowing his family line by referencing God’s ancient king. At this juncture it is as if Jesus is reframing for the generation and generations to come, make it a house of prayer, I’ll make it a house of healing, and the final result is a house of praise. This is the hope of glory. Christ in us.
Jesus emphatically is not only co-dreaming with the Father, he is in constant communion and relational prayer. It is true if you have seen the son, you have seen the Father. (John 14:9) Jesus is shouting to a nearly deaf world the Hebrew word embodied SHEMA, which means to hear, hear the intention of God. See the image of God. Jesus pulls the Kingdom of God reality into the streets of Jerusalem and the children cry out HOSANNA. There is a rise of the tide of God’s original with us intent when Christ comes near. He is there. He is here, now with us, through the Spirit we know outpoured in Acts, we have bold access. We are the house of God. We are the meeting place.
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 3:6
God’s imagery is pervasive to those in proximity to his presence. You will dream, you will see visions when you pray. This is why we must make room for others to dream with God. We have to make space for this priority of connection. The same way an artist makes time to create, we must make time to listen, and co-dream with God. Be still, ask questions, listen. Commute with God, walk with God, travel with God, and eat meals with God. Come home to God.