Billie Silvey
This Old House
"House" in scripture is a concept full of rich imagery.

1. In the first place, it merely means a shelter, protection from the
elements.  That was what it meant in 2 Kings 4:8-17 when the
Shunammite woman had a room built on her roof for the prophet
Elisha.  Since Elisha passed their house often, she began to invite him
in for a meal.  Then the couple constructed a small room with a bed,
a table, a chair and a lamp so he could stop and rest on his journey.  
As we have seen in some of the recent disasters, protection from the
elements and a place to rest are among the major blessings of a
house.

2. In the second place, it refers to the people living in that house, the
household, which might at the time have included extended family
and servants.  This was the thrust of Joshua’s words in Joshua
24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.â€�  
Whether our household is a single person or an extended family,
there are special connections among the people who live in the same
house.

3. It also refers to the nation, as when Aaron died, and the whole
house of Israel mourned him for thirty days (Numbers 20:29).  
Lincoln’s famous “House Dividedâ€� speech applied Jesusâ
€™ use of the word in Matthew 12:25 to the United States in the
Civil War.

4. By extension, it refers to the body as a house for the soul.  This
appears as an extended image in Ecclesiastes 12:1-7.  It is the image
used in the Gaither Vocal Band’s lyrics, “This Old Houseâ
€�:

This old house is getting shaky
This old house is getting old
This old house lets in the rain and
This old house lets in the cold.
On my knees I’m getting chilly
But I feel no fear or pain
‘Cause I see an angel peeking through
A broken window pane.

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
I’m getting ready to meet the saints.

Our bodies provide protection and tangible existence for our souls.  
Our souls animate our bodies.  When my father died, I helped the
people at the mortuary decide whether to bury him with his glasses
on or off, but even though I recognized the body in the coffin as the
body of my father, it was apparent that he was no longer there.

5. And finally, to Heaven as the final home of the soul (John 14:1-3).
This image is seen in the old gospel song:

If for the prize we have striven,
After our labors are o’er,
Rest to our souls will be given
On the eternal shore.

Home of the soul
Blessed kingdom of light,
Free from all care
Where there falleth no night.

Oft in the storm
We are sighing for thee
Beautiful home of the ransomed beside
The crystal sea.

When my father left his physical body here on earth, and we buried it
in the windy cemetery in Tulia, Texas, he was waiting to be raised
imperishable to his new home with God (See 1 Corinthians 15:50-
55).
November 2005
Books
Biography
Archive
Feedback
The Roaring 20's
Home
Fitzgerald & Thalberg
Books
Biography
Archive
Feedback
Home
The Roaring 20's
Fitzgerald & Thalberg