Shabbat Shalom family,
As we have just come through the celebration of the feast of Matzot, we are reminded of the powerful work that Messiah has done for us in overcoming sin and taking away the curse of the Torah, which is death. We are also reminded how we are to remain in him and walk steadfastly in His commands, and as we remain obedient to the command of the counting of the 50 days between the waving of the sheaf of barley, on the day after the weekly Sabbath during Matzot, to Shavuot where the waving of two loaves of Bread takes place, we are once again aware and clearly reminded how we are to ‘count’ the cost of walking steadfastly in Messiah, as true talmidim (disciples). This season we are in, with tonight marking the beginning of day 7 of our 50 day count, we must be fully aware of how we are to be built up in Messiah, who is our Head and chief cornerstone that has been laid, giving us a sure foundation upon which to build our lives in total set-apartness unto Him. Sha’ul tells us in:
Qolasim/Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you accepted Messiah יהושע the Master, walk in Him, 7 having been rooted and built up in Him, and established in the belief, as you were taught, overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”
The Greek word translated here as ‘built up’ is ἐποικοδομέω epoikodomeō – Strong’s G2026 and means, ‘build up, build upon’ and this is an active verb which implies a continued action that is to take place. It can render the understanding in the Greek, ‘to finish the structure of which the foundation has already been laid’. It is from two root words: ἐπί epi – Strong’s G1909 which is a preposition that can render the meaning, ‘upon, on, about, over’ and the second word is οἰκοδομέω oikodomeō – Strong’s H3618 meaning, ‘to build up, edify, to build a house, to be in building, to build up (from the foundation)’.
Eph’siyim/Ephesians 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the set-apart ones and members of the household of Elohim, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, יהושע Messiah Himself being chief corner-stone, 21 in whom all the building, being joined together, grows into a set-apart Dwelling Place in יהוה, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of Elohim in the Spirit.”
By the Blood of יהושע Messiah, we have been brought near and grafted in to the body of Messiah, and by Him we are being joined together and built up together into a dwelling place of Elohim in the Spirit; and what we must clearly understand here from this being built up process, is that we are to be actively engaged in the building process, as we continue to build upon that sure Rock, our chief cornerstone, that has been laid – as we diligently HEAR – GUARD and DO His clear commands!
In Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 our Master יהושע Messiah makes it clear that those who hear His words and does them, shall be like a wise man who builds his house on the rock and be secure until the end, while those who hear His words and do not do them, shall be like a foolish man that builds his house on the sand, which shall not stand when the latter rain storms come! In other words we are all to be about building the House – His House, which He has called us to become a part of in order to dwell with Him forever. The question we certainly ought to be asking ourselves is whether we have sat down and considered the cost of building this House we have called to, or whether we find ourselves lacking in our clear responsibilities! This season of counting to 50 ought to cause us to carefully reflect on our building abilities and the responsibilities we have been entrusted with, as we build each other up in the most set-apart faith!
In a message tonight called, ‘THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING’, I would like us to look at some very powerful words spoken, as Shelomoh embarked on building a House for the Name of יהוה!
Please turn with me to Diḇre haYamim Bět/2 Chronicles 2:1-12 (Read)
When I read this again this week I was struck by the power of some of the words we find in these verses in regards to the House which Shelomoh was about to build; and we know that his father, Dawiḏ, has prepared much for this building process, and in a sense had ‘laid the foundation’ for the building work to take place, on the place where he had built a slaughter place on the threshing floor of Ornan the Yeḇusite, which he bought at full price, and offered ascending offerings and peace offerings and called upon the Name of יהוה.
By the offering up of Himself for our sins, our Master יהושע Messiah, paid the full price and laid the foundation for us to build upon. This slaughter place, which Dawiḏ built on the threshing floor he had bought, was on Mount Moriyah, and מֹרִיָּה Moriyah – Strong’s H4179 means, ‘יהוה is teacher, the place where יהוה teaches’. Moriyah was also the place where Aḇraham was instructed to go and offer up his son Yitsḥaq, which we also know is a powerful shadow picture of our Master offering Himself up for the redemption of our lives! “The place where יהוה teaches” – His House is built upon by our obedience and adherence to His teaching/instructions – i.e. His Torah, as given through Mosheh and revealed through the life, death and resurrection of our Master יהושע Messiah.
As Shelomoh realised this huge task that lay ahead of him, he realised that he would never be able to do this in his own strength, and when asked what he should be given from יהוה, Shelomoh asked for wisdom, revealing to us the clear fact that he started out with the right attitude – having the fear of יהוה, which is the beginning of wisdom!
The task that was before him was indeed a huge one – and as huge as it was – he did not allow the responsibility that he was entrusted with to be set aside, but went all out! He realised that he was building House for the Name of יהוה! A House for His name where the continual incense, showbread and offerings would be done for Yisra’ĕl forever!
In verse 5 he declares plainly that ‘The house I build is great – for our Elohim is greater than all mighty ones!’ This is a very powerful acknowledgement that he was declaring – the acknowledgement of the greatness or יהוה our Elohim, and how the building of a House for His Name was not something to be taken lightly, but rather required the utmost attention to detail, done with precision and steadfast devotion! And then in verse 6 he soberly realises the task that was before him – after all, as he states – “Who is able to build Him a House, since the heavens and the heavens of heavens are unable to contain Him?” The task of building this House for the Name of יהוה hit home, and Shelomoh them cries out… “Who am I then that I should build Him a House, except to offer before Him?”.
Who am I? A phrase we may all ask ourselves when tasked with such a great task as this – to build a House for the name of our Elohim! Mosheh asked this when told to go before Pharaoh and bring Yisra’ĕl out of Mitsrayim.
Shemoth/Exodus 3:11 “And Mosheh said to Elohim, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Yisra’ĕl out of Mitsrayim?”
Dawiḏ asked this question after being told that His throne would be established forever:
Shemuʼěl Bět/2 Samuel 7:18 “And Sovereign Dawiḏ went in and sat before יהוה and he said, “Who am I, O Master יהוה? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”
Dawiḏ also asked this question when he recognized the privilege of being able to offer voluntarily that which comes from Elohim:
Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 29:14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give so voluntarily as this? For all comes from You, and we have given to You out of Your hand.”
Many a great men and women who have gone before us have too echoed these same thoughts, as the very humbling task of building a House for the Name of יהוה was presented before them, and while we too may think that we do not have the ability or competence for such a task, we must recognise that our competence is not from ourselves, but is from our Master and Rock of our deliverance:
Qorintiyim Bet/ 2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to reckon any matter as from ourselves, but our competence is from Elohim”
With this great task and huge responsibility that lies before us all who are in Messiah, recognize that our competence for such a task can only come from Elohim, who teaches us how we are to build His House, according to His Torah.
What stuck out for me in a huge way was these words of Shelomoh that exclaims – “Who am I then, that I should build Him a House, EXCEPT TO OFFER BEFORE HIM?”
These words ‘Except to offer before Him’ struck me – for this is exactly how we are to be building a House for His Name – we are to be living our lives as a daily living sacrifice:
Romiyim/Romans 12:1 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship.”
This verse we all have heard over and over – but do we recognise what it truly means – presenting our bodies a living offering, set-apart and well pleasing to Elohim? Living as a set-apart living offering is our reasonable worship unto our Great and Marvellous King!
In verse 9 Shelomoh expresses a clear message to Ḥuram, the sovereign of Tsor, who he asked for materials from, that the House that he was building is ‘GREAT AND MARVELLOUS’.I often wonder if we actually recognise just how ‘great and marvellous’ the body of Messiah that we are to be building together is? If we would just realise just how ‘great and marvellous’ it is, we may be more determined to giving our all!!!
The Hebrew root word translated as ‘great’ is גָּדוֹל gadol – Strong’s H1419 and means, ‘great, highest, mighty, marvellous’ and Dawiḏ says in:
Shemuʼĕl Bet/2 Samuel 7:22 “You are great indeed, O Master יהוה. For there is none like You, and there is no Elohim but You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
The Hebrew word translated as ‘marvellous’ is פָּלָא pala – Strong’s H6381 meaning, ‘to be surpassing or extraordinary, make marvellous, make special, wondrous work or deed, fulfil a special vow’. In other words this word can render the meaning, ‘to cause a wonderful thing to happen’, and this word is frequently used in reference to the great wonders and historical achievements, that are beyond human capabilities, and done on behalf of Yisra’ĕl; and as a result awakens astonishment in man!
The root word translated as, ‘I am building’ is בָּנָה banah – Strong’s H1129 which means, ‘rebuild, establish a family, build up’. This is exactly what we are to be about doing – establishing a family in Messiah, rebuilding the ancient ruins that have been the result of sin and rebellion as we encourage and build one another up continually.
Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, as indeed you do.”
Tehillim/Psalm 127:1 “If יהוה does not build the house, its builders have laboured in vain. If יהוה does not guard the city, the watchman has stayed awake in vain.”
We can only build His way – and that is to walk according to His Torah – which is spiritual and we are to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established 4 and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
We know that in Scripture, wisdom is often a reference to the Torah or instructions of Elohim, and so He has given His clear building plans that we are to labour according to – any other way is simply vain labour! By the Torah (instructions) of Elohim the house is built and by the ‘doing’ of these instructions that brings understanding it is firmly established upon the Rock. Building contrary to the Torah is vain labour!
By the words and actions of Shelomoh, the sovereign of Tsor even recognised that יהוה had given Shelomoh wisdom, understanding and knowledge – in order to build a House for יהוה.
In the Book of Yehoshua/Joshua we find a very powerful picture for us today in how we too are to be witnesses of the Truth, in living as a set-apart people offering up their lives as a daily living sacrifice. In Chapter 22 we see that after Yisra’ĕl had settled and the 2 ½ tribes that had helped their brothers take the land and receive their lot had gone back to their allotment beyond the Yardĕn, that they built a slaughter place to יהוה – in fact we are told in Yehoshua/Joshua 22:10 that the children of Re’uḇĕn, Gaḏ and the half tribe of Menashsheh had built a great conspicuous slaughter place!
They built a slaughter place to be seen and not hidden!!! This of course angered the other tribes who had settled in the land and Pineḥas was sent to check it out and confront them on what seemingly was a huge trespass in their eyes, as they accused the 2 ½ tribes that were beyond the Yardĕn of rebelling against יהוה, only to discover that the slaughter place was not built to offer slaughterings upon, but rather it was built as a witness between them and their brothers who were in the land, so that they would not be forgotten, and this matter was good in the eyes of all.
What we find today, is the same accusation coming from many who we would have assumed to be brothers and sisters. Many ‘claiming’ believers in Messiah will often say to us who are walking according to the Torah that we are ‘going back under the law’ or that we are ‘trying to be Jewish’; or even from the Jews today, we are often accused of trying to walk in the Torah, which according to them is forbidden for us to do so! These accusations that come at us from various groups try to accuse us of doing something wrong by walking in the purity of the Torah, as if it were a curse; and even think that we wish to enact a sacrificial system (including circumcision), which is a ridiculous accusation, as they simply do not understand that we are not going back under a sacrificial system that has been satisfied in the Blood of Messiah, but rather we are about building His House, as a living sacrifice; and as we who were scattered among the nations are building on Messiah, our Rock and Good Teacher, we become a great and conspicuous witness before all, as we diligently guard to do all His commands, in wholehearted service unto Elohim, keeping His Feasts and Appointed Times and living each daily as the salt and light of His Truth for all to see His Name upon His House that is being built up in the most set-apart faith!
Living stones we are – being built together:
Kěpha aleph/1 Peter 2:4-5 “Drawing near to Him, a living Stone – rejected indeed by men, but chosen by Elohim and precious – 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up, a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah.”
The question we must ask ourselves, in light of the huge and awesome task that is before us, is whether we are indeed building His House or are we about building our own? The prophet Ḥaggai is a very powerful book for us today as it addresses this very issue:
Ḥaggai/Haggai 1:4-5 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, and this House be in ruins?” 5 And now, thus said יהוה of hosts, “Consider your ways!”
4 Times in Ḥaggai we are told to consider – twice to ‘consider our ways’ and twice to ‘consider from this day forward’, and that same call to consider ways from this day forward is still being proclaimed loud and clear, as long as it is called today! The foundation has been laid – Messiah the chief cornerstone! Man’s rebellion destroyed the Dwelling Place of Elohim, which they had turned into a den of robbers, and Messiah said that He would raise it up in three days – speaking of the Dwelling Place of His Body! He came to establish and restore the True Tabernacle/Dwelling Place of the Most High – His House built by His Hands!!! The question we all must ask ourselves is “How great do you value His House?”
Are you seeking wisdom with your all, as we are told in:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 3:13 “Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, and the man who gets understanding”
Blessed is that man who has found wisdom, for he can truly be enlisted as a builder!!!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 8:1 “Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice?”
Wisdom has made her call – the Torah has been proclaimed and revealed – there is no excuse to not know how to build! There is no excuse to not hear and respond!
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:1-6 “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out its seven columns, 2 she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, she has also prepared her table. 3 She has sent out her young women, she cries out from the highest places of the city: 4 “Who is simple? Let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks heart, she says to him, 5 “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.” 6 Leave the simple ones and live, and walk in the way of understanding.”
I love this passage – as we see that not only has the foundation been laid, but we clearly see how the 7 columns for the House have been hewn – that is they clear columns of our faith have been made for us as building blocks – and they are His Appointed Times – His 7 Feasts!! We build his House as we remember to guard, keep and perform His Feasts that have been hewn out from the foundation of the earth, in Messiah. We Keep His Feasts as we prepare and serve in Righteousness. The sacrifice and provision has been done, and the whole House has been cleansed and set-apart for service in the Blood of Messiah, as we hear the clear call given here to come and eat and drink of His provision and walk in the way of understanding, leaving behind the simple ones who are building their own paneled houses without secure columns!
It all begins with our fear of Elohim:
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Set-apart One is understanding.”
Who do you fear and who do you seek? Fear יהוה and seek wisdom, no matter how intense the vain accusations of the world come up against us. Many may even accuse us of becoming mad with all our learning, just as Festus shouted in a loud voice to Sha’ul, “Sha’ul, you are mad! Much learning is turning you to madness!” (Ma’asei/Acts 26:24)
True fear of יהוה begins the journey of discovering who He is and enables us to further grow in our understanding as we incline our ear to hear, guard and do His Word, and stand firm on the Rock of Truth, without the fear of man that tries to cause us to stumble in our building of the Master’s House! When Kěpha and the other apostles were commanded not to speak or teach in the Name of יהושע Messiah, the responded boldly with the clear understanding that it is better to listen to the Truth than to the attacking accusations that try to stop us from being obedient!
Ma’asei/Acts 4:19 “But Kěpha and Yoḥanan answering them, said, “Whether it is right in the sight of Elohim to listen to you more than to Elohim, you judge.”
I believe that this is something that we all must judge in our own hearts each day, as we face tough choices to obey or not to obey the clear commands and teachings of Elohim – judge for yourself whether you think it is right in the sight of Elohim to listen to man more than to Elohim!!!
Ma’asei/Acts 5:29 “And Kěpha and the other emissaries answering, said, “We have to obey Elohim rather than men.””
When we neglect obedience to Elohim, we may render ourselves as unfit builders, being found to build our own panelled houses of self-security, while the task of building the great and marvellous House of Elohim gets neglected through compromise!
As we consider this clear season of commanded counting – let me ask you – “Are you counting the building costs?” When you honestly assess your life against the mirror of The Word of Elohim, can you be sure that when you say, as Shelomoh did, “THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING”, is the House of Elohim, or are you building your own house? Are you offering before Him daily the reasonable worship of being a set-apart and living sacrifice, serving as the royal priesthood that you have been called to, or have you found that you have gone ‘off duty’ so to speak? Are you armed in the Torah and making sure that you are daily clothed in His righteousness, building His House as you keep watch over His charge given to us to go and teach the nations and make disciples – that is to equip more builders? He is coming soon – and He is coming for a ready Bride – A Prepared and Built House – and now is the time to be building His Great and Marvellous House – that is the House that you and me are a part of in Messiah, tasked with the responsibility of building each other up, encouraging one another to not forsake the gathering of the set-apart ones as some are in the habit of doing, as they fall away to the joining of themselves to the simple through compromise. In Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10 we are told clearly to hold fast to our expectation of His return and be concerned for one another, to stir up love and good works – that is complete obedience as is hewn out for us to build by – through the guarding of His Word and the Keeping of His Feasts. It also warns us that when this is neglected there remains no more a sacrifice for our wilful sin/lawlessness. We who know the Truth and still do not build according to His Word and His Appointments, trample His work under foot, and to fall into the hands of the Living Elohim is a fearsome thing!!! We are either builders of His House our we are His opponents whom He will avenge at His return. Half-hearted attempts at building is not regarded as the building He makes us competent for! As we count our way to Shavuot, let us carefully consider how we are building, ensuring that we are held firmly in His Hand, as His treasured possession, being presented as an acceptable wave offering in the Hand of our Rock, High priest and King, יהושע Messiah!
THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING…. May that House be the True House for His Name!
Perhaps you have recognised, during this season of the removal of leaven and the counting to Shavuot, that your building methods have not been totally according to His Word and your hands have been found to be building walls of compromise for self. Then count the cost of building and take up the sword of Truth in your hand and diligently guard to do all He commands, in order that you too can declare… ‘THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING IS GREAT AND MARVELLOUS’ – For THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING is The Body of Messiah!!!
As we build His House, His Way, may we be truly ignited with an intense passion for building ourselves and each other up in Messiah, hating the garments of compromise that is defiled by the flesh:
Yehuḏah/Jude 1:20-23 “But you, beloved ones, building yourselves up on your most set-apart belief, praying in the Set-apart Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of Elohim, looking for the compassion of our Master יהושע Messiah unto everlasting life. 22 And show compassion toward some who are doubting, 23 but others save with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating, even the garment defiled by the flesh.”
May we all make the bold confession:
THE HOUSE THAT I AM BUILDING… I AM BUILDING HIS WAY!
יהוה bless you and guard you as you build His Great and Marvellous House – offering before Him your life as a daily living sacrifice – pleasing to Him in every way, aměn!