Love for God’s House
DO YOU like it when we are invited to go to someone’s house for dinner?— What if we were invited to God’s house, would you want to go?—
Now, you may say that God does not live in a house. And it is true that God does not live in a house in the way that we do.
But the Great Teacher said that God had a “house.” And Jesus used to go to God’s house, even when he was a little boy. That house was the beautiful temple of Jehovah in the city of Jerusalem. That temple belonged to God. It was used for his worship. So it was called “the house of Jehovah.”
When Jesus was a boy, he lived a long way from the “house of Jehovah.” No one had a car in those days, and there were no trains that they could ride. To get to the temple, they would have to walk. It was not a trip of just an hour or so from where they lived. They would have to walk for at least three days to get there. And the return trip would take another three days. Was it worth all the effort to make such a trip? Would you have walked that far to spend time in “God’s house”?—
People who loved “God’s house” did not think it was too far. Every year Jesus’ parents would go to Jerusalem to worship. And Jesus went with them.
One year, as they began the trip home, Jesus was not with his family. No one noticed it until they had traveled a long way. Then his parents went back to hunt for him. And where do you suppose he was?—
They found him right in the temple. He was listening to the teachers. He was asking questions. And when they asked him something, he would answer. They were amazed at the fine answers that he gave.
Of course, when his parents finally found him, they felt much better. But Jesus had not been worried. He knew that the temple was a good place to be. So he asked: “Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?” He knew that the temple was “God’s house.” And he loved to be there.—Luke 2:41-49.
It was not just once a year that Jesus and his parents went to meetings for worship. Each week there were meetings for worship in the town where they lived.
At those meetings someone would get up and read from the Bible. They did not have it all in one book. It was written on long scrolls or rolls. So they would unroll it to the place that they wanted and then start to read. After that it would be explained. The Bible says that it was Jesus’ “custom” to attend these meetings. That means that he went regularly.—Luke 4:16.
We should do that too. But where is “God’s house” today? Where should we go to worship him?—
The temple where Jesus went in Jerusalem is no longer there. It was destroyed. So we can’t go there.
But God still does have a “house.” It is not a house that is made of stones. It is made up of people. How could that be? Well, a house is a place to live. And God says that he is with his people. He does not leave heaven and come down to the earth. But God is so close to his people that they feel as if he were right there with them.—1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Timothy 3:15.
So, when we go to “God’s house,” where should we go?— We should go where God’s people have met for worship. It could be in a big building. It could be in a small one. Or it could be in someone’s home. The important thing is that they really be God’s people. But how can we tell if they are his people?—
Well, what do they do at their meetings? Do they really teach what is in the Bible? Do they read it and discuss it? That is how we listen to God, isn’t it?— And at “God’s house” we would expect to hear what God says, wouldn’t we?—
But what if people say that you do not have to live the way the Bible says? Would you say that they are God’s people?—
Here is something else to think about. The Bible says that God’s people would be “a people for his name.” What is God’s name?— It is Jehovah. So we can ask people if their God is Jehovah. If they say “No,” then we know that they are not his people.—Acts 15:14.
But it is not enough just to say that Jehovah is their God. Where is the proof? They should be talking about him to other people. They should be telling people about God’s kingdom. They should have faith in his Son. They should show their love for God by keeping his commandments.—Isaiah 43:10.
Do we know people who do all those things?— Then we should be meeting with them for worship. And we should be there regularly. We should be listening to those who teach, and answering questions when they are asked. That is what Jesus did when he was in “God’s house.” If we do that, we show that we, too, really love the “house of God.”