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 of the Omer.
.היום ארבעה ימים בעומר
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 has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the counting of 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׃
A. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man (אִישׁ חָכָם) who built his house on the rock (הַצּוּר). 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 (כָל־הַשֹׁמֵעַ אֶת־דְּבָרַי) 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׃
“When the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
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׃
B. “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 disciples. The Kingdom is here! And the King is here!. As the Ruler of the Kingdom of Adonai here on earth He is expressing His concern about His disciples. Will His 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 Him 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 the Lord’s 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). Hearing the Word of Adonai requires one to do at least five things:
The Shema (the Unity Prayer).
שמע ישראל ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד׃
אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אָמַר בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת כַּאֲשֶׁר לִמֵּד בִּכְפַר נַחוּם. רַבִּים מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ זֹאת אָמְרוּ: “קָשֶׁה הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה; מִי יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹעַ אוֹתוֹ?”פ
“These things He [the Mashiach] said in the synagogue as He taught in Kefar Nachum (כְפַר נַחוּם-the village of comfort and consolation). Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult word (קָשֶׁה הַדָּבָר-a grievous, hard, troublesome word-davar); who can hear, understand, and obey it? (lishmo’a-לִשְׁמֺעַ, to listen and obey, from hear intelligently, shama-שָׁמַע).”
Shema 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 ( וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע-vayishma) 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:
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד׃ וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃ וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיֹּום עַל־לְבָבֶֽךָ׃
“Hear (שְׁמַע-Shema), O Israel! Adonai is our G-d, Adonai is one! (אֶחָֽד-echad, 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” (Lord, Lord)…” 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 Lord, Lord (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 Mashiach to earth) the Messiah 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 Ha-acharon). 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 in the Messiah:
He hears (gains knowledge);
He may even understand (is wise);
But He does not obey what he has heard and understood (therefore, he does not love Adonai).
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 (at all) in the depths of this person’s eternal being (his heart, his spirit). 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 His word but that we also do (obey) what He says. The saying of the prophet Isaiah applies here (Isaiah 29:13):
“These people honor me with their lips, but their ‘hearts’ are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
Their teachings are merely human rules.”
Lip service from the brain (head knowledge) is not the essence of true discipleship. We Jews are presently learning this. We are afraid the vast majority of you G-d fearers (professing Gentiles) don’t even know what is being discussed here; except for those of you who are from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Out of all the peoples of the world only people from the Americas and Europe actually believe in a false-salvation that requires no more than mere verbal assent and a modest amount of religious compliance. 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 sef-life to Adonai Avinu. This means we must receive the gift of the Spirit to help (empower) us so that (one day) we may actually hear, understand, and obey Adonai; otherwise, tragically we will one day hear these words from the Mashiach HaShofet:
“פ“מֵעוֹלָם לֹא הִכַּרְתִּי אֶתְכֶם, סוּרוּ מִמֶּנִּי עוֹשֵׂי רֶשַׁע
“I never knew you at any time. Depart from me! You who practice lawlessness (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.
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 your body-brain 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 G-d. In this way the Messiah is asserting Himself to be the promised Moses to come (the Deliverer, the New Law-giver) and the eschatological Judge.
Observation #7. The Master 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 of the Truth (emet) that sets us free. The Messiah is reminding all of His disciples that a day of judgment is coming. On the Day of Judgment those followers of Messiah 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 the believer.
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 as the Adonai of one’s entire being will do. The Spirit of Grace (chesed, chen) and Truth (emet) is the One who changes us from the Inside-out (inside the cup first: so give now to tzedakah, charity-וְאַתֶּם, תְּנוּ לִצְדָקָה; then the outside of the cup will automatically become clean). Partial conversions to Adonai Avinu will never be accepted. Making the outside of the cup appear to be tzedakah, genuine charity that is sourced in the heart, when in fact it is just an insincere 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 person learning that G-d 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 Hebrew thought 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 has agreed to listen to, understand and obey his Master for all of his entire life.
Point #2. Traditionally when a Jew does confession (וידוי-viduy) it is done in the standing position while lightly striking the heart. The striking of the heart by the worshiper 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 sinning against the Holy One. Then in a voice audible only to the confessor, it is customary for that one to lightly strike his heart (the seat of our eternal being) with his 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 Adonai:
פ“אִם אַתֶּם אוֹהֲבִים אוֹתִי, הֲרֵי שֶׁתִּשְׁמְרוּ אֶת מִצְווֹתַי.”פ
“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, the elect nation of Israel (meaning the “Rule of the Almighty”) promises to listen and understand and obey “everything” the Hoy One says. This means each person reciting the Shema has committed (dedicated) his entire body to act as an ear that hears Adonai and therefore each person will always do exactly what the Holy One says (all the time, every time, perfectly). For all, except the “*only begotten Son” perfectly keeping this incredible Shema petition-promise to Adonai is impossible! [*(אֶת בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ) -“only begotten Son:” Adonai is the One who made (אֶת-definite direct object marker) the Son be sent out of eternity into creation).]
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, Adonai is a Master Carpenter. He is the One speaking through the Messiah, His only begotten Son. Rabbi Yeshua, the Carpenter from Heaven, knew the difference between a well-built house and a poorly built house. He knew that when designing a storm-proof home the most important feature is the foundation. Similarly, Messiah 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:
בְּ֭חָכְמָה יִבָּ֣נֶה בָּ֑יִת וּ֝בִתְבוּנָ֗ה יִתְכּוֹנָֽן׃
By wisdom (בְּ֭חָכְמָה) a house is built, and by understanding (בִתְבוּנָ֗ה) it is established (יִתְכּוֹנָֽן).
Rabbi Yeshua said the only way to build a strong foundation is by hearing His words (building the house in knowledge) and by the Spirit acting on them. This means the house may only be properly established if it is constructed out of the irresistible strength (wisdom) of the Spirit of Adonai). The Messiah also warned His Jewish followers (us) that the Storms of life will come and that the foundations of His people’s lives would soon be 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:
The Storms are coming. Hear the Voice of Adonai and be anchored in the Rock-foundation of His Life (Spirit) and His Word.
Therefore, all who hear Messiah’s words are given a choice. We can preserve our lives by building on the good foundation of His Life (Spirit) and Word. Or, we can destroy our lives by building on another foundation (i.e. the 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. Make a perfect dream house to go with your already perfect foundation. If you have a right spirit and soul (foundation) on the day of resurrection it won’t be that hard to just give you a new perfect dream 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 Spirit (לְרוּחַ מְחַיָּה-life-giving Spirit). However, a perfect soul, body, and mind without the perfect foundation of a perfect Heart can lead to even a perfect (looking) mansion falling over and being destroyed in a storm (remember the First Adam was only a living soul).
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 Messiah’s own Life (D’var HaShem-His Word) and His Spirit (Ruach Olam, His Eternal Spirit). 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 יְהוִה הִנְנִי יִסַּד בְּצִיֹּון אָבֶן אֶבֶן בֹּחַן פִּנַּת יִקְרַת מוּסָד מוּסָּד הַֽמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִֽישׁ׃
Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed (מוּסָד מוּסָּד-well-layed).
He who believes will not be disturbed (יָחִֽישׁ-in a hurry).