Friday, March 15, 2019

Outdoor Object Lesson 91: Our Tent Home

Key Text

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is dismantled, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 (BSB)


Note: To illustrate this lesson it is ideal to have a tent set up or partially set up that can be quickly collapsed on que. 

I think Paul the Apostle would fit in well if he were alive today. He loved to travel and spent a lot of time living in a tent. He also wrote to his friends a lot about his travels, so he would probably enjoy using social media. Paul was very knowledgeable about tents because he was a tent maker. He knew how portable they could be. He also knew how many drawbacks they have as a permanent residence. Tents make a nice temporary home while traveling. But they are not ideal for living in long-term when compared to a permanent house. 

In the key text, Paul is comparing our life here on earth with our future life in heaven. The Bible assures us that this life we are now living is temporary. It does not have all the comforts of a house. There is hardship and troubles. Storms can wreak our lives and blow our tent over so to speak. Tents are simple and only provide the bear necessities. Much like this life we often only have the essentials to live. We do not have the assurance of tomorrow. This life may collapse around us, it may wear out. Sickness, pain, financial hardship, unkind people, and death have likely afflicted you in this life. 

Paul reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus. Even though our home, our body, this whole life may be dismantled, we know it is only temporary. God is building us a permanent home in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, where thieves cannot break in and steal (Matthew 6:20). He is preparing new bodies that are incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:52). He has prepared a place with the Tree of Life that will provide healing to the nations, and where every tear will be wiped away (Revelation 22:2, 21:4). 

God has already demonstrated the fulfillment of a promise like this before. The Children of Israel lived in tents for 40 years as they wondered the wilderness, hoping for the day when they would arrive in the promised land and build permanent houses. And one day, God fulfilled his promise to them. Even greater assurance is provided by the resurrection of Jesus. While in this temporary life, he did not even have a tent to live in! But God has already raised him to life in an incorruptible body and taken him to live in a permanent home in heaven! He has promised to do the same for you and me. 


Have you ever had a tent collapse on you before? How did that experience make you feel?

Have you ever felt as if your whole life has collapsed around you like a tent?

Does the hope of eternal life make difficulties in this life easier to cope with?

Do you ever feel like the promise of heaven is too far away or doesn’t seem to make your life easier to deal with? Why do you think that is?

What other promises in the Bible can you cling to when your life is falling apart?

Written by David F. Garner