By Samuel Liu

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me?  Where will my resting place be?”

Isaiah 66:1

In the Old Testament, Israel built tabernacles and the Temple in Jerusalem as the “house of the Lord,” the resting place where God’s manifest presence dwelled on the earth. In the New Testament, Paul writes that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and so now, the house that we build for God is not a physical building, but an internal “garden” within our hearts.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed…

Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:12, 16

It is interesting to note that, as the word “temple” conveys a sense of holiness, glory, majesty, reverence, and awe, the word “garden” depicts rest, fellowship, leisure, and pleasure. God has already established his throne (temple) in heaven, so it is no wonder the first place He created to meet with man on the earth was a garden, the Garden of Eden.

Today, for each of us to build the house of God in our lives, we need to cultivate the garden within our hearts, so God can come and walk with us in our gardens. How do we prepare our gardens for the Lord? There are many keys. One key is to constantly sow the Word of God into the soil of our hearts, to bear much fruit, as Jesus depicted in the parable of the sower (Mark 4:20). As we spend time immersing ourselves in the Word of God, we are building a house of devotion to the Lord, and providing a resting place for Him to dwell.

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