Numbers 24:5, “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!”
“What a lovely home you have,” people remark when they enter a well built home with lovely décor. Beauty and exquisite furnishings always inspire me, but there is something greater than the outward appearance. God is more interested in the atmosphere of the home than the arrangements. He is more interested in the sweetness of His presence than the surroundings. He is more interested in our homes being dedicated to His glory than being filled with expensive décor.
Do you remember when King Balak of Moab called for Balaam to curse Israel? Balaam came, but instead of cursing, every time he opened his mouth, He prophesied blessing over Israel. In his third prophecy, as he looked out over the tents of Israel, he exclaimed, “How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob: how lovely are your homes, O Israel.” (NLT)
These words were prophetic, for the children of Israel did not live in spacious mansions – they lived in tents! These words described God’s heart and His vision for the families of Israel. They also portray God’s vision for our homes. He wants them to be filled with the beauty of His peace, the loveliness of His presence, and the joy and laughter of family togetherness. Listen to the beautiful imagery in verse 6 as He continues to describe what He wants our homes to be like – “Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens by the riverside, like aloes planted by the Lord, like cedars beside the waters.”
Have you ever read such a beautiful description? Let’s look at it more closely. God wants our homes to be…
FAR REACHING – “Like valleys that stretch out.”
God has a big vision for our families. He has an on-going vision. He wants to enlarge our vision to see like He sees. He wants to take us from our selfish vision of “me, my husband, our two children and we are quite happy like we are” to the vision of Isaiah 54:2-3, “Stretch out the curtains of your habitations; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations…” He wants godly families to fill the streets, fill the neighborhoods, fill the nations, and fill the earth with His glory. Rather than being the minority, God wants His people to increase and overtake the world.
Valleys encompass a river or rivers and continue to spread out to the sea or to a lake. They are the watercourses of the mountains, which is the actually Hebrew meaning of this phrase in the Scripture. Because of this they are always green and fertile. I think of the longest river on our continent, the Mississippi, which is 2,348 miles long. It starts from little Lake Itasca in Minnesota – a small stream winding its way through lakes and marshes. But it continues to enlarge. From St. Paul to the mouth of the Missouri River it grows in force to become a powerful dominating river. After it is joined by the Missouri and Ohio rivers it swells to full might and grandeur – often 1½ miles from bank to bank.
We are all interested in our family tree. What about a family river? Each new marriage starts as a little stream. God blesses and children are added to the family. The children grow in the ways of the Lord and touch many lives for God’s kingdom - the river flows with life and vitality. The children get married and grandchildren come along. The river widens and influences more and more people for the kingdom of God. Great-grandchildren are born and the ever-widening and deepening river becomes a mighty torrent, flowing with salvation, truth, love, and joy and healing to a hurting and barren world. Ezekiel 47:9 tells us that everything lives where the river flows.
Sadly, there are many streams that die out before they become a mighty river. They start with a name, but the name does not continue down the generations. We have found that it is not as easy as you think to pass on the family name. Currently, we have 18 grandchildren, but we had to wait for our 15th grandbaby to have a grandson that would carry on the Campbell family name!
Have you got God’s vision for your family? Are you only thinking of the present, or do you have a vision for the future? When God spoke to the patriarchs of old, He also spoke to their children and the children who were yet to be born. He saw the future generations in their loins. You can read of one example in Genesis 17:7-10. When speaking to Abraham God says these words, “you and your descendants after you…” But He didn’t say them only once – He repeated them five times to make sure Abraham got the message that God’s vision was not only for him but for the continuing generations.
Dear mother, enlarge your vision. Don’t limit your family to a trickling stream. See your family becoming a mighty flowing river, taking life and healing to the nations and down the generations.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Oh God, save me from my narrow vision. When I become inward looking, remind me of your great vision to fill the earth with your glory. Help me to see our family becoming a mighty river, flowing through the nation with your light, joy, love and salvation. Lord, I cannot do this in my own strength. I am dry and thirsty and barren. Please, fill me with your Holy Spirit, Pour your Spirit upon me. Pour your Spirit upon our children. Pour your Spirit upon our home so that we can pour out your love to the world. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”
By God’s grace, our family will not become a dried up creek bed, but a mighty flowing and ever enlarging river to bring life and healing to the nations.