Parable #4. Wise and Foolish Builders:
- Today is Day #4
- The Fourth Mashal of Messiah
- Seven Initial Observations
- Two More Points
- The Shema speaks of what Man is to do and what he is to become.
- Listening to the Master Contractor
- Get ready for the Storms are coming!
- The New Man is made out of Incorruptible & Indestructible Material
Today is Day #4:
1. Today is “Day #4” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Four days in the Omer.
Today is four days in the Omer.
היום ארבעה ימים בעומר.פ
Haiyom arba’ah yamim ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The Fourth Mashal of Messiah:
לָכֵן כָּל־הַשֹׁמֵעַ אֶת־דְבָרַי אֵלֶּה וְעָשָׂה אֹתָם אֲדַמֵּהוּ לְאִישׁ חָכָם אֲשֶׁר־בָּנָה אֶת־בֵּיתוֹ עַל־הַצּוּר׃ וַיֵּרֶד הַגֶּשֶׁם וַיִּשְׁטְפוּ הַנְּחָלִים וַיְנַשְׁבוּ הָרוּחוֹת וַיִּגְּעוּ בַּבַּיִת הַהוּא וְלֹא נָפָל כִּי יֻסַּד עַל־הַצּוּר׃ וְכָל־הַשֹׁמֵעַ אֶת־דְּבָרַי אֵלֶּה וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם יִדְמֶה לְאִישׁ בַּעַר אֲשֶׁר־בָּנָה אֶת־בֵּיתוֹ עַל־הַחוֹל׃ וַיֵּרֶד הַגֶּשֶׁם וַיִּשְׁטְפוּ הַנְּחָלִים וַיְנַשְׁבוּ הָרוּחוֹת וַיִּפְגְּעוּ בַּבַּית הַהוּא וַיִפֹּל וַתְּהִי מַפַּלְתּוֹ גְדוֹלָה׃
לכן כל השומע את דברי אלה ועושה אותם יהיה דומה לאיש נבון אשר בנה את ביתו על הסלע. הגשם ירד, באו השטפונות ונשבו הרוחות והלמו בבית ההוא, אך הוא לא נפל, כי יסד על הסלע. וכל השומע את דברי אלה ואינו עושה אותם ידמה לאויל אשר בנה את ביתו על חול. הגשם ירד, באו השטפונות ונשבו הרוחות והלמו בבית ההוא; נפל הבית וגדולה היתה מפלתו.פ
A. [Mattai 7:24] “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears My words and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
וַיְהִי כְּכַלּוֹת יֵשׁוּעַ לְדַבֵּר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיִּשְׁתּוֹמֵם הֲמוֹן הָעָם עַל־תּוֹרָתוֹ׃ כִּי הָיָה מְלַמֵּד אוֹתָם כְּאִישׁ שִׁלְטוֹן וְלֹא כַּסּוֹפְרִים׃
כשגמר ישוע את דבריו אלה השתומם המון העם על תורתו, כי למד אותם כבעל סמכות ולא כדרך שלמדו סופריהם.פ
וְלָמָּה זֶּה אַתֶּם קֹרְאִים לִי אֲדֹנִי אֲדֹנִי וְאֵינְכֶם עֹשִׂים אֵת אֲשֶׁר־אֲנִי אֹמֵר׃ כָּל־הַבָּא אֵלַי וְשׁוֹמֵעַ אֶת־דְּבָרַי וְעֹשֶׂה אֹתָם אַגִּיד לָכֶם לְמִי הוּא דוֹמֶה׃ דּוֹמֶה הוּא לְאִישׁ בֹּנֶה־בַּיִת אֲשֶׁר הֶעְמִיק לַחְפֹּר וַיְיַסְּדוֹ עַל־הַצּוּר וּכְבוֹא הַשֵּׁטֶף פָּרַץ הַנַּחַל בַּבַּיִת הַהוּא וְלֹא יָכֹל לַהֲנִיעוֹ כִּי־טוֹב מִבְנֵהוּ׃ וַאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע וְלֹא עָשָׂה דּוֹמֶה לְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה בַיִת עַל־הַקַּרְקַע וְאֵין לוֹ יְסוֹד וַיִּפְרָץ־בּוֹ הַנַּחַל וַיִּפֹּל פִּתְאֹם וַיִּגְדַּל שֶׁבֶר הַבַּיִת הַהוּא׃
ולמה אתם קוראים לי ‘אדוני, אדוני’, ואינכם עושים את אשר אני אומר? כל הבא אלי ושומע את דברי ועושה אותם, אגיד לכם למי הוא דומה: דומה הוא לאיש בונה בית, אשר העמיק לחפר והניח את יסודו על הסלע; כאשר בא שטפון הכה הזרם בבית ההוא, אך לא היה יכול למוטטו משום שנבנה היטב. אבל השומע ואינו עושה דומה לאיש אשר בנה בית על הקרקע בלי יסוד; כאשר הזרם נגח בו התמוטט מיד וגדול היה חרבן הבית ההוא.פ
B. [Lukas 6:47] “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock (הַצּוּר); and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Seven Initial Observations:
Observation #1. Messiah is addressing his Jewish disciples. The kingdom of God is here and the Messiah our King is here!. As the ruler of the kingdom of Adonai Rabbeinu Yeshua is expressing his concern about His talmidin. Will his Jewish followers exercise a proper attitude toward him? Will they give him first place in both their worldly dealings and in their personal lives? Will his followers sincerely obey the *words he has entrusted to them from their hearts?
Observation #2. It is interesting that both builders are said to hear the Master’s words but only one builder actually obeyed his teaching. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them…” This is the same meaning conveyed in the word Shema, “Hear.” The Hebrew meaning of the word Shema requires more than a mere intellectual grasp of the D’var HaShem, the Word of Adonai (Deuteronomy):
The Shema (the Unity Prayer).
שמע ישראל ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד׃
Shema, O Israel, Adonai Eloheinu is Adonai echad.
אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אָמַר בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת כַּאֲשֶׁר לִמֵּד בִּכְפַר נַחוּם. רַבִּים מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ זֹאת אָמְרוּ: “קָשֶׁה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה; מִי יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹעַ אוֹתוֹ?”פ
את הדברים האלה אמר בבית הכנסת כאשר למד בכפר נחום. רבים מתלמידיו ששמעו זאת אמרו: “קשה הדבר הזה; מי יכול לשמע אותו?”פ
“These things he [the Messiah] said in the synagogue as He taught in Kefar Nachum. Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult, hard, troublesome word; who can *hear, understand, and obey it (לשמע)?
*lishmo’a-לשמוע, to listen and obey, from hear intelligently, shama-שָׁמַע).” The verb lishmo’a means to hear, understand and respond appropriately (in thought, feeling, will, and behavior; therefore, to hear with great patience.
Shama-שמע is a key word that is found most prominently in the book of Deuteronomy. This word in various forms appears ninety-two times in Deuteronomy. Shema (from shama) is a sensory term that conveys five basic core meanings.
[First] Listen. Focus all of your attention on what is being said. “Be silent, O Israel, and listen (וּשְׁמַע֙-u-shema).” [Second] Hear. Actively listen to what is being communicated verbally and non-verbally. “I heard (שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי-shamati) Your voice in the garden and I was afraid.” [Third] Understand. Comprehend both the cognitive (thinking) and affective (feeling) meaning of what is being said to you. “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand (יִשְׁמְע֔וּ-yishme’u) each other.” [Fourth] Internalize. Take to heart, give weighty mental and emotional consideration to what is said; what you have heard and understood. “And as for Ishmael I have heard (שְׁמַעְתִּיךָ֒-sh’maati’cha) you.” [Fifth] Respond appropriately. Obey, obedience is a child’s love language to his or her parents.
Our love language to Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in heaven) is obedience.
This kind of love is a reciprocal love. So the ultimate relational response of shema is to respond in reciprocal love. This of course requires a high sense of respect and trust between the two parties.
“Abraham did what Sarah said.”
This last sense of reciprocal love is born out of confidant trust and not fear. Love (chesed, ahavah) is the fulfillment of all that the sacred term shema aspires to be. Therefore, in reference to the Shema and love of Adonai Eloheinu we read:
“Hear (שְׁמַע-Shema), O Israel! Adonai is our God, Adonai is one! (אֶחָֽד-unity) You shall love Adonai Eloheikha with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
Observation #3. “Adonai, Adonai”…” The doubling of a name in the Torah is used as a means of demonstrating affection (cf. Genesis 22:11). However, used in the context of this fourth mashal of Messiah it is more likely that the use of this phrase is a profession of faith. The expression (אֲדֹנִי אֲדֹנִי) is more than an acknowledgment that Rabbi Yeshua is the Messiah. The phrase Adonai, Adonai is used as a means of giving recognition to the Divine Presence that forever Indwells the Messiah and is manifested to the outside world through Him.
Therefore, in this prophetic glimpse into the future (after the return of the Messiah to Israel) he is being addressed as the permanent human dwelling place of the Holy One. This means Adonai has permanently chosen to take on a human form so that He might dwell with His people in a very personal way. Since the fullness of the Divinity dwells in the Messiah bodily he is addressed as “Adonai, Adonai” (cf. Exodus 3:14). Therefore, the expression Adonai, Adonai is representative of an actual profession of faith that the Divine Presence is resident in the Messiah Yeshua.
The affirmative belief here is that Yeshua the Messiah is another ben HaElohim.
He is the the new, sinless, perfected Adam and as such Messiah is the Last Adam (HaAdam HaAcharon). The problem we discover with the foolish builder (i.e. the second type of confessed follower of the Messiah) is that he does not act in accord with his profession of faith:
He hears (gains knowledge);
He may even understand (is wise);
But He does not “obey” what he has heard and understood (he lacks love).
Observation #4. Unfortunately this professing follower of Messiah gets at the surface meaning of who the Messiah really is but he possesses, in the depths of his being, no real spiritual life to support his knowledge.
Tragically, the life of Messiah is not resident inside this person’s heart (spirit) and soul.
Therefore, the Spirit of the Holy One does not dwell in the depths of this person’s eternal being (his heart, his spirit, his soul). Apparently, just knowing who the Messiah is isn’t good enough to possess assurance of salvation. In fine Hebrew fashion the Rabbi of Heaven demands obedience from all of His followers. The Rabbi of rabbis requires that we not just be hearers of God’s Word (the D’var HaShem) but that we also do (obey) what He [God] says through M’shicho (His Messiah). The saying of the prophet Isaiah applies here (Isaiah 29:13):
ויאמר אדוני יען כי ניגש העם הזה בפיו ובשפתיו כבדוני וליבו רחק ממני ותהי יראתם אתי מצות אנשים מלמדה׃
And Adonai said, “These people honor me with their lips (with words), but their hearts are far from me.
They worship (fear) me in vain;
Teaching as doctrine *mere human rules.”
Creating lots of human busy work and calling it obedience to God is not the essence of true service to God.
We Jews are presently learning this. So far we have believed in a false-salvation that requires no more than verbal assent and a modest amount of religious compliance. Now we are learning that true salvation requires nothing less than the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One (i.e. the Father’s Gift – המתנה של האב). This requires an authentic sacrifice of one’s self (life) to Adonai Avinu. This means we Jews must receive the gift of the Spirit to help (empower) us so that (one day) we may be blessed to actually hear, understand, and obey God; otherwise, we will one day hear these words instead:
“I never knew you at any time. Depart from me! You who practice lawlessness (human iniquity)!”
Confession from the heart is (heart knowledge). Temporal obedience originates from the brain. Brain knowledge alone is not good enough for the Holy One. Eternal obedience originates from the heart (the spirit).
Only heart knowledge is acceptable to our heavenly Father.
It is our spirit that must be empowered to rule over our mind, body and soul. The only valid form of discipleship is to be changed from the Inside-out. Outside-in is never going to be acceptable to the Holy One. The need for a person to possess the obedience which flows from the disposition of a right heart is crucial.
Changing the brain is helpful but such fixes are partial and temporary. Not eternal.
Inevitably our bodies-brains will die. However, our conscious being will never die. It is critical, therefore, that we understand and obey what the prophet Isaiah and Messiah are pleading for us to do. We must obey Adonai from the heart. For us to come into compliance with this demand of Adonai requires that we know the difference between head and heart knowledge.
Observation #5. “When Yeshua had finished these words…” This phrase is akin to what happens when a judge (ha-Shofet) has expressed his final ruling on a matter. Messiah has studied the matter, considered all of the relevant facts, circumstances, and applicable laws, and he has rendered his final decision. Now he is ready to move on (cf. Mashal #5 that follows) to the next case.
Observation #6. “The crowds were amazed at his teaching.” Messiah’s teaching was so different from the scribes (and the Prushim). He based His authority not on previous teachers but on the will of God. In this way the Messiah is asserting that he is the promised one – the Moses to come – the Deliverer, the New Law-giver, and our eschatological Judge.
Observation #7. The Rabbi from Heaven conveys to us the Torah revelation that persecution and adversity are the refiner’s fire that proves the genuineness of a person’s faith (‘there is no light without fire’). We are reminded that a life of persecution is a real likelihood for those who become sincere disciples (followers) of the Truth (emet) that sets us free. The Messiah is reminding his fellow Jews that a day of judgment is coming. On the Day of Judgment those Yehudim who have exercised their faith in a superficial way toward the Holy One, they will not stand. Their house will fall because of the lack of a proper foundation. The foundation that is required is not one of amassing a satisfactory number of good works (the false teaching of the “balances”).
The foundation that is required is the regenerating Presence of the Holy Spirit permanently Indwelling our hearts (spirits).
It is the pure, perfect, and uncompromising works of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit in His children that the heavenly Father seeks (the unleavened teaching of the Messiah). Not the impure, imperfect, compromised works of human ingenuity and man-made religion; the mere human rules that the book of Judges and the prophet Isaiah referred to (cf. the leaven of the Bramble Bush; i.e. the Prushim and their successors).
Only the heartfelt experience of being permanently Indwelt by the Presence of the Holy Spirit will do. The Spirit of Grace (chesed, chen) and Truth (emet) is the One who changes us from the Inside-out. Partial conversions to Adonai Avinu will never be accepted. Making the outside of the cup appear to be tzedakah when it is just a superficial effort to “look good” will never work. This fake goodness—appearing to be clean on the outside while never being cleansed on the Inside—will only ultimately lead to a Jew learning that God never knew him or her in the only place where He can know any of us—-“in our cleansed hearts.”
Two More Points:
Point #1. In theTorah the ears are a metaphor for the whole body (Psalm 40:6-8; cf. Septuagint, ear equals entire body). As stated at the beginning of this chapter someone who hears (Shema) with his ears is a person who listens, understands and “obeys.” In ancient times, a servant who pierced his ear at the door of his Master’s House was declaring that he agreed to listen to, understand and obey his Master for all of his life.
Point #2. Traditionally when a Jew does confession (וידוי-viduy) we do it in the standing position while lightly striking our heart. The striking of the heart indicates where the real problem lies. A proper manner of contrition involves making the confession while in the standing position with one’s head slightly bowed to express submission and sincere sadness for our sinning against the Holy One. Then in a voice audible only to one’s own self and to God, it is customary for us to lightly strike our heart (the seat of our eternal being) with our fist while reciting the words of contrition:
“I have sinned due to the unwise counsel and wayward thoughts of you, my heart.”
The Shema speaks of what Man is to do and what He is to become:
It bears repeating: The Hebrew root word for “hear” is shama (Aramaic: shema). This supremely important word in Hebrew means to “listen,” “understand” and “obey.” In the Tanakh children are told to obey (shama) their parents. Obedience is our love language to our Father HaShem:
“If you love Me (Adonai Avinu, the One Whose Presence Indwells the Messiah) you will keep My commandments.”
In the Torah all Israel is instructed: “Shema Israel Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad!” “Hear, O Israel: Adonai Eloheinu is One Adonai” (Deuteronomy). The Aramaic word Shema (hear) means more than just the english word to listen. In the Shema, our elect nation of Israel (meaning the “Rule of God”) is promising to listen, understand and obey “everything” the Hoy One tells us to do. This means each person reciting the Shema has committed (dedicated) his entire body (physical and spiritual) to act as an ear that hears HaShem and therefore each of us are solemnly promising to always do exactly what the Holy One says (all the time, every time, perfectly). For all, except the Messiah perfectly keeping this incredible promise is impossible!
Listening to the Master Builder:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the Rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the Rock.”
The Master’s use of a building metaphor should not surprise us, HaShem is a Master Carpenter. He is the One speaking through the Messiah, His only sinless (perfect) son. Like HaShem (our Creator) Messiah Yeshua (the Carpenter) knows the difference between a well-built house and a poorly built house. As a master craftman he knew that when one designs a storm-proof home the most important feature is the foundation. Similarly, he knew when it comes to His disciples storm-proofing their lives they better have a strong foundation (cf. Proverbs 24:3).
Get ready for the Storms are coming:
בחכמה יבנה בית ובתבונה יתכונן׃
By wisdom (חכמה) a house is built, and by understanding it is established (יתכונן).
Rabbi Yeshua said the only way to build a strong foundation is by hearing His words: This means the house may only be properly established (יתכונן-get ready!) if it is constructed out of the irresistible strength (wisdom) of the Spirit of Adonai. The Messiah also warned His Jewish family (us) that the storms of life will come and that the foundations of our lives would be severely tested. He did not say ‘if’ the winds blow, the rain falls, and the floods come. He said ‘when’ these things happen. So Messiah is sending out a warning:
הסערות מתקרבות. אנשים תתכוננו!פ
“The Storms are coming. People get ready!”
Therefore, all who hear Messiah’s words are given a choice. We can preserve our lives by building on the good foundation of Gd’s Life (Spirit) and Word. Or, we can destroy our lives by building on another foundation (i.e. sinking sand): “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
The New Man is made out of Incorruptible & Indestructible Material:
“He who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the Rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Although steel is a good metaphor for strength, it carries with it the unfortunate possibility of rusting (corruption):
In antiquity the most ancient, durable and change resistant (incorruptible) substance known to Man was stone.
Stone was the ultimate building material. A stone foundation assures a builder that his building will be fortified to the highest possible degree.
Two questions, three integrated thoughts, and one summary:
Question #1: What do you get after a big storm and flood knocks down and drags away (in rubble) your perfect dream house that has no foundation? Answer: You get absolutely nothing. No house. No foundation.
Question #2: What do you get after a big storm and flood knocks down and drags away (in rubble) your imperfect house that has a perfect foundation? Answer: The storm did you a favor. Just rebuild!
If you have a right spirit and soul (foundation) on the day of resurrection it won’t be that hard for God our Father to give you a new mansion to match. The foundation of the perfect Heart will inevitably lead to the construction of a perfect soul, body, and mind; remember the Last Adam is a quickening (life-giving) Spirit.
Summary: those who put their trust in Messiah are destined to be the heavenly Father’s immortal, incorruptible, unassailable spiritual House (Temple) whose foundation, walls and everything else are made out of the indestructible material of His own Life (D’var HaShem-His Word) and His Eternal Spirit (Ruach Olamt).
Those who put their trust in Messiah will survive all of the tests of time and eternity. Therefore, it is written in Isaiah:
לָכֵן כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי ה’ הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיֹּון אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַֽמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִֽישׁ׃
לכן כה אמר אדני ה’ הנני יסד בציון אבן אבן בחן פנת יקרת מוסד מוסד המאמין לא יחיש׃
Therefore thus says Adonai HaShem,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed (מוּסָד מוּסָּד-established foundation).
He who believes will not be disturbed.