Every homeowner knows that they need to plan for home repairs in the coming year. There were home repairs this last year and there will assuredly be home repairs in this next year as well. Some may be minor, such as a new coat of paint or a replacement sink handle. Others may be major, such as a new HVAC system or a new roof. The only sure thing is that repairs will be needed. No home lasts forever, and even brand new homes have repairs that need to be made. In fact, without extensive restorative efforts and extremely expensive upkeep measures, a study found that the maximum life expectancy of a house that is regularly and professionally kept up is still only 200 years. A normal life expectancy of a house is only between 50 and 75 years. Homes here on this earth only last so long and then need to be replaced. There is one home though, that will last for every generation of our family, both before and after us.
In perhaps the oldest Psalm in the Bible, Moses tells us of that home in the very first verse “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. (Psalm 90:1)” Moses was a man who knew a thing or two about generations. He lived for one hundred twenty years and saw three different generations come and go. He saw a generation of Israelite slaves die in Egypt for the first forty years of his life. He was absent from Egypt while another generation of slaves passed away. Then he saw a generation of freed, but unfaithful Israelites die in the wilderness during the last forty years of his life. Finally He saw the final generation of his lifetime grow up while wandering in the wilderness before arriving at the edge of the promised land. Through all of the hardships, doubt, and death that Moses witnessed, he knew that God was still their only lasting home. The Israelites were not meant to live forever in Egypt, the wilderness, or even the promised land. There is only one home for the faithful of God that would and has lasted from generation to generation, God Himself.
God is our dwelling place, wrote Moses. He did not mean a temporary tent which we sleep in while in the wilderness. He meant a safe and fortified homeland, protected from all dangers and foes. God is our refuge and comfort. He is our permanent home that does not need repairs or upkeep. He is all of these things for us because He has forgiven our sins and made peace between Himself and all mankind. His promises are our protection from guilt, shame, and punishment. His inheritance for us is a truly eternal home. Isaac Watts said it thus:
Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home!
(Hymn 123:1 from the Lutheran Hymnal)