We’ve all heard the parable of the man who built his house upon the sand and the man who built his house upon the rock. There are even cute little children’s songs about this wonderful teaching of Yeshua. I’ve heard dozens of sermons on His analogy, but none that struck me as profoundly as the one shared by my pastor at Everlasting Covenant Congregation. Allow me to share with you my version of what I learned.
I am going to make an assumption of you right now. I am going to assume that your heart’s desire is to build your house (your life) on solid rock. May I ask you a question? In your understanding, what is “the solid rock”? One of the first responses that always pops into my mind is the chorus of a beloved hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.” In its most basic concept this song is absolutely correct. Yeshua is our solid Rock. He is our solid Rock because of one truth: He is the Living Torah – the Word of Yahweh made flesh and dwelling with man – the same Word that now dwells within us.
In fact, one of the Hebrew idioms for the Torah is “the Rock”. We need to grasp this most important principle found in the Hebrew-mindset and cling to it for dear life. The Torah is the Solid Rock upon which everything must be built. Consider this carefully. The Torah consists of the first five books of the Bible, and is often called the Books or Song of Moses. Do you know and understand that every other book in the Bible – including the New Testament – builds their content upon and consistently refer to the Torah? In fact, 85% of the New Testament writings are directly tied to Torah principles and teachings. (That fact always causes me to be baffled by those who declare that the Torah no longer applies to Christians. Why then did the apostles keep referring to and quoting it?) Without the Torah, none of the other books of the Bible would have been written! Without the Torah, there would have been no need for Yeshua to come to this earth at all. Without the bedrock foundation of the Torah, the entire house of our faith eventually collapses.
Many years ago I sat through a sermon that was the kick-off on a series of messages our pastor was going to deliver on the book of Genesis (Hebrew: Beginnings). I wasn’t too sure back in those days why Genesis was supposed to be so crucial to me, so my first response to this plan of the pastor was “Oh hum…this is going to be boring.” That is until I very clearly heard Holy Spirit speak to me, “What you choose to believe about the Beginning will change your life.” Wow. That brought me to attention. This Torah book called Genesis is obviously more important than I thought. In fact, it must be foundational – like a solid rock upon which to build my life. I paid close attention – and my life did begin to change.
As I reflect on that particular Sunday morning, I now understand that this was the very day Yahweh set my feet on the path that has led me fully back to the Torah – who is Yeshua HaMashiach, who was with Yahweh in “the beginnings” and is Yahweh (John 1). Yes, I already knew Yeshua that morning as my Savior. I had yet to encounter Him as my King. I knew all about being a good Christian. I knew nothing about being a citizen of His Kingdom. Yahweh was out to rock my little Christian world!
The Solid Rock. The Torah. This is Yahweh’s “beginnings with mankind”. This reveals to us Yahweh’s “beginnings with Israel” – a people he called out of a fallen world to make a holy (set apart and uncommon) nation of priests and kings upon the earth. The Torah is OUR beginnings! Our unique relationship with YHVH, the King of the Universe, begins in the Torah. If we do not understand our beginning with Him, how can we hope to strengthen our relationship with Him? If we do not understand the foundations of this relationship, how can we expect our relationship to stay healthy and filled with love? We can’t! Every married couple knows that the moment they forget how they began their life together is the moment their relationship begins to lose its fire and slowly fades into being a tedious existence filled with obligations that no longer stir any passion or hold meaning.
Yeshua taught, “So, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the winds blew and beat against that house, but it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the rivers flooded, the wind blew and beat against that house and it collapsed – and its collapse was horrendous!” (Matthew 7:24-27 Complete Jewish Bible)
What are these words of his that we must act upon? The answer to that question is a crucial key to abundant life in His Kingdom. He is the Living Word of God – the Torah. These “words of mine” are found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Everything that Yeshua did and said while on the earth came straight from the written Word of God (D’var Elohim – the Torah.) Are we not to follow His example? Are we not exhorted by the apostles to do as He did, to have the mind of Yeshua and to keep the faith of Yeshua? Is this not the point of this parable? I believe that this is what Yeshua is saying to us: “If you listen to my Word and do as it says you are a sensible person who is building your life on Solid Rock.”
On the other hand, Yeshua is also saying – rather bluntly – “If you choose not to listen to my Word and do what it says, you are a stupid person who is building your life on sand.” Ouch. So what is sand, dear friends? Sand is finely crushed rock. Hmmm. Let me ask you some tough questions – ones that I have to frequently ask myself. What are you doing with the Rock – the Torah – even the very teachings of Yeshua on the Torah? Do you crush it into finer pieces, so that you can “pick and choose” what you want to believe and practice, brush some of it aside and keep only what you want? Many seminaries and churches certainly do. Do you then try to build your life upon this unstable sand? Yeshua is telling us – warning us – do not do this. If you build your life on a crushed up, weakened version of his Word the storms of life are going to take you down. You will be destroyed. Your collapse will be horrendous. The Torah, intact and complete, remains the Solid Rock of His Kingdom.
Of course, Yeshua tells us this because He loves us. He wants us to be wise, sensible people. Because of the relationship we have with him, he wants our choice to build our lives according to his Word – his instructions and principles – to come out of a response in our hearts to him. Yeshua’s love language is obedience. “If you love me, you will keep my commands; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever.” (John 14:15 CJB) Now that is a relationship worth having in your life! But take note. This comforting Counselor is promised to those who prove their love for Yeshua by obedience to his Word – the Torah; an obedience that is born out of a heart of love for Him. Are you struggling to hear the counsel of Holy Spirit these days? Hmmm. Check your heart response to Yeshua. Are you obeying His Word, just as it is? No crushing of the Rock into fine sand?
I know these are tough questions, friends. Yet those words spoken to me that particular Sunday morning long ago are just as much for you as they were for me. What you believe about the Beginnings – the Torah – will change your life for the better. You will find your destiny in the Beginnings! You will find your Messiah as you have never known Him before! In obedience to the Word – just as the Living Word promised – you will find abundant life!
Do you believe and act upon the Torah as well as you claim to believe and act upon the teachings of Yeshua? Do you understand that they are one and the same? Yeshua claimed this to be true when he told the Judeans who were trying to kill him “Don’t think that it is I who will be your accuser before the Father. Do you know who will accuse you? Moshe [Moses], the very one you have counted on! For if you really believed Moshe, you would believe me; because it was about me that he wrote. But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:45-47 CJB) [Hebrew definition of “belief”: intellectual agreement that results in heart-motivated action.]
The Words of Yahweh recorded by Moses are exactly the same as the words that Yeshua spoke during His life on the earth. He lived the Word – his own words – perfectly. Yahweh has never changed His Word. It is we who twist and pervert it to our own liking. He spoke with His own mouth the Rock of the Word upon which we can build a solid life. We grind it into sand and expect the same. Yeshua called it right. Yes – stupid.
Friends, I pray that you will grasp this truth. Salvation brings us our inheritance – eternal life in his kingdom and a relationship with him. Yeshua is and always will be the only way to into the eternal presence of Yahweh. However, only obedience to His Word will bring us incredible blessings and protection now, in this earthly life. Obedience is our hearts response to His love toward us. Obedience is wisely building our lives on the Rock. Our relationship with Yeshua is our peace and our deliverance. His Word (the Torah), simply put, is his instructions and principles on how to live like a king and a priest in a fallen world. We desperately need both.
If you are not sure where to start in getting to know the Torah, begin with the book of Deuteronomy. It is Moses’ synopsis of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers that he gave to the Israelites just before they crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy (D’varim – The Words) speaks loudly to this Last Generation concerning how to live our lives before Messiah’s return. Friends, with the same passion of Moses, I encourage you to get to know Messiah and His Ways. He has completely revealed his heart and mind to you through the Torah. Read and follow the Torah in your heart and with your actions. Your relationship with Messiah will explode into a whole new revelation of intimacy and goodness!