The Meaning of Home

Published 1/15/24

Home is a powerful word.Home welcome mat

Over 1,000 movie titles have the word “Home” in them and home is a central, emotional motif of much literature and art in general.

On Friday, we had our “Homecoming” event to welcome our alumni back and celebrate the students who will become our next group of alumni in May.

Whether it is war, college, or vacation, coming home just feels special.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those who genuinely have to live each day without home or with the sense that they don’t belong anywhere due to sin, death, racism, or selfish rejection. 

The longing for a home is heightened for those who feel estranged or lost.

Scripture gives us two examples of homecomings.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the famous account of a wayward son who finds himself lost and broken after turning his back on his home.  Covered in pig slop and all alone, he comes to yearn for the home that he had left behind, but struggles with feelings of unworthiness.  

Finally, walking down that old familiar dirt lane, he comes face to face with a loving, overjoyed father who wraps him in a bear hug.  I like to imagine that as they embraced that boy inhaled deeply the familiar scent of his father and realized he was home again.  

From that day on, home meant something completely different to him than it ever had before.

In the early chapters of Joshua, we find the Children of Israel finally coming into possession of a home that was fully unfamiliar to them.  A home possessed by others but promised long ago to Abraham for his descendants.  

In the midst of this moving in process, we are introduced to Rahab.  Her home is an evil place full of wickedness.  As she hears about the Children of Israel, she comes to a decision.  Much like the Israelites, she decides to turn her back on her familiar premise of home and make her real home with the people of the one, true God ~ Jehovah.  While the Israelites had to be dragged away from Egypt, she is eager to go and dwell with the Lord in faith wherever that may be.

In Hebrews 13, three chapters after listing Rahab in the Hall of Faith, we read these words in verse 14:

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

We are not home in this world.  We are not to feel at home.  The only home we should long for is the presence of God and His people.  Whether crossing the desert or in Canaan, God tabernacled with His people and they were home.

In just under 30 minutes (as of this writing), fans of the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers will pile into snow-covered seats at Highmark Stadium (1/15/24).  One group will feel at home, the other will not.

The pain and suffering and sin-sickness of this world should serve to make us feel less and less at home here while also driving us to God’s presence for our sense of being home.  

Heaven will be sweet not because of its beauty or lack of death; rather it will be so sweet because we will feel the tight embrace of our heavenly Father and know that, finally, we are home.