My favourite restaurant is called The Kings House. My wife and I would visit weekly if finances permitted. If we lived in the same village as The Kings House we would want to be there every day. Why? There are many reasons. The excellent food is obviously one. When we go to The Kings House we get fed. We also get welcomed. We have known Stuart and Jan the owners for many years now, but even if it were our first time through the door they would still welcome us. That’s what they do. They welcome people. They feed people, and they care for people. Once when we made a booking that coincided with the village fireworks party, Stuart was waiting outside for us to arrive because he knew the car park behind the restaurant would be full. He let us park in his carport.
There is another King’s house that I look forward to visiting one day. I am not sure what the food will be like but I do know that the welcome will beyond anything I can imagine. The second King of Israel wrote about this place in my favourite Psalm. King David said that this place was so special that he, an earthly king, would rather be a gatekeeper there, than live anywhere else.
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:1-2 NIV)
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. (Psalm 84:10-12 NIV)
Jesus also had something to say about the King’s house. At a time when His disciples were feeling low He reminded them of the welcome that would await them one day. When I read what He said it makes everything I know pale into insignificance:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. (John 14:1-6 NIV)