One of my favorite architectural details in any house is a porch. Its mention conjures up scenes of lazy summer days, ice-cold lemonade, or vibrant nights of celebration with friends and family. It’s a mindful place for me, where I make life’s pace slow to the cadence of my rocking chair. My porch has been a gathering place where music flowed and celebrations and lamentations equally felt and easily shared. The richness of life is revealed in the cool of a fresh breeze and a stilled soul. Did you know that God has a front porch? When I thought I couldn’t love him more, I read I discovered it in Solomon’s temple design. The temple design is a picture of our approach and relationship with God. Good things happen on every porch.
And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.John 10:23
Front Porch Friends & Healing Places
My porch was the perfect way to get to know neighbors whenever I moved into a new place. Sitting on my rocker, watching my kids play, or the occasional slow-moving car provides access for others to approach informally. It nearly always ends with an invitation to join me in a rocking chair. Before we knew it, we were friends sharing the joys and hardships of life. Tears and prayers flowed as plentifully as laughter on a summer night. My porch was the favorite water, drinks, food, popsicle distribution center for sweaty kids playing in the street. Its covering was a shelter from the searing sun and slight protection from the cold winter winds. In the word, God’s porch is an open place to share life and get closer to a relationship with him.
And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.Acts 3:11
The Merciful Designs
God speaks in word pictures that are easily revealed in the detailed designs of his organized feasts, celebrations, and temples. In Solomon’s temple, a court called a “Court of the Gentiles,” and that’s where God located his porch. It was the only place where anyone was welcome regardless of social, health, status, racial, monetary, or religious requirements. Gentiles weren’t allowed in the temple but were welcomed on the porch. Under God’s porch, teaching flowed, people rested; the sick were taken to be healed. Jesus gave sermons on the porch; he corrected the religious leaders there. He drove home an important point by chasing out the money changers with a whip. God wanted everyone could see how strongly he feels about people getting ripped off as they tried to get closer to him.
Those outside the faith drew near and though they were considered undeserving to enter the temple, they came for mercy. When we draw near to God in this way, relying on his mercy, he draws near to us.
Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you…James 4:8
The geographical gap on that side of the temple was massive. A lot had to be done to build up the ground under the “Court of the Gentiles.” Filling the gap instead of changing the location is God’s message to us. Sometimes life leaves us at such a deficit that God seems so far out of reach. He designed his temple as a picture that he fills all of the gaps for us through the sacrifice of Jesus. He’s done what it takes to make the ground level for us to come just as we are. We are so welcome to come and sit a bit on God’s porch and be still. He’s waiting to give us refreshments, to celebrate the joys, and be with us in the sorrows. As we get to know him, we want to be closer to him, and he invites us into a supernatural place.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.Acts 5:12
God wants us all to feel welcome and to draw close to him. Miracles can happen we share and get together, where love, concern, tears, and celebration mingle, where all are welcome. God welcomes us to his front porch, but it’s only the start. There’s an invitation to an incredible mansion that awaits us just beyond the door. Next week we will explore the door.
God, I thank you for everyone reading this right now. I pray that your blessings will be on them that make us rich and add no sorrow. I appreciate that you have not left us out in the cold to guess but gave us a plan to get to you through Jesus and that it’s demonstrated over and again through scripture. Please help us enjoy these front porch moments where we relate to others in our lives, help them to feel close to you, Lord, as they spend time with us. Please help us to see that you have filled in every gap that separates us from you, that you’ve made it easy; we only need to come. Open our hearts and minds to the amazing treasure in scripture and help us to enjoy those front porch relationships with others and help them to come to you.