The Corner of the Housetop

It’s better to dwell on the corner of the housetop than in a wide room with a brawling woman.

That’s what Proverbs 21:9 tells us. And the principle it communicates apparently means so much that it is repeated word for word in Proverbs 25:24.

The narrow way was spoken of by Jesus. He said that few find it. It’s a way that requires attention and concentration. It is the way that leads to life — abundant, eternal life.

To live at the corner of the housetop requires clear, committed thinking and action. Accountability and responsibility are necessary to live in that high place. You must be circumspect and balanced, or else a great fall may come.

But it’s better to be there. The view is clear, above the fray, removed from the mess that goes down below.

The Garden

The Garden was one such corner that the Lord made. Man was set in this space set apart in the midst of a world that had been dark and chaotic, until God spoke Light. There, Man had responsibility – to dress and keep what was alive and thriving.

Fellowship happened between Man and God and between Man and the Woman God made for Him. Life was simple and free. Listening to and enjoying the presence  of God was the order of the environment. Everything was available to them. They could pursue happiness in liberty.

Only that single tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was off limits to them, according to the command of God. To eat of that tree meant death, a death that came by expansion, a death that came by entrance into the wide room.

There was more to life than the Garden so the serpent said. The devil’s temptation invited the Woman and the Man to come down from the housetop. Enter into the wide spaces, he said, broaden your experience with information. That was the diabolic deception. It’s always been his deception.

The original couple ate from the tree and as a result, comparison entered into their mindsets. They viewed parts of their bodies as things that needed to be hidden away. They stitched together leaves, making coverings for themselves. Then, they heard the Lord and ran from His Voice as they had also become aware of their spiritual nakedness as well as their physical exposure.

At that point, they were in wide room and the brawling had begun within them. Life had been certain, sure, and sweet with no worries. The new information that they availed themselves of had brought them low and unwelcome in the presence of God.

Lust and Leanness

Yes, the story proves that we really can know too much. The wide room, the so-called expanded experience, is not without its corners.  When we encounter too much knowledge, some that was never meant for us, the brawling woman can stir up feelings that push us into spaces that become traps and snares that seem inescapable.

For example, marriage, as God intended it, is a corner of a housetop. It is a high and lofty thing between one man and one woman. In that simple context, a man discovers it is good having a wife to have and to hold. There’s intimacy and passion that is meant to last a lifetime.

This is why adultery is such a disaster. It demolishes something precious and true. Sure, the immediate act may buy a thrill, but before long the wrestling comes. The principle at work is found in Psalm 106: “And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (verse 15).

“Leanness” – this is getting what you want and then some. Every bargain comes with a price, very often a costly one. The satisfaction cycle involved in our lust patterns spins wild and uncontrollably; it is what drives the addictive impulses within us.

When we encounter too much knowledge, some that was never meant for us, the brawling woman can stir up feelings that push us into spaces that become traps and snares that seem inescapable. Click To Tweet

Psalm 106 outlines this destructive process by way of the example of Israel. Through their generations, the chosen people experienced the mercy and care of God. They witnessed wonders of His power and provision. And yet they turned from the Lord toward sin and idolatry. This resulted in their division and, eventually, their captivity.

We want. We get. We want more. We get more.  We then discover that we need more and more and more. The thrill factor must be escalated to meet our flesh’s demand for satisfaction.

It’s a wide room and the brawling one is tossing us about. Insecurity and anxiety stir turmoil and distress.

There’s a way to great peace and it is to love the Law of the Lord (see Psalm 119:165). “His commandments are not grievous” (see 1 John 5:3).

The Spirit concentrates His power in us. Love is shed abroad in our hearts.

Remember this:  Satan swept Jesus up to a high spot and paraded the riches of the world before Him. Jesus refused to look below at these things. Instead, Christ focused on the Word of God and the worship of the Father.

May we lift up the Lord for He will lift us up (see Psalm 30:1). The life and love within us shall help us to do just as Jesus did. Let us call upon Him and rest in His truth.

And enjoy the view from the corner of the housetop.