A couple of days ago, I was delivering some metalwork to a customer in the upstate of South Carolina. While in the area, I called a good friend and brother, Jeff, to see if we could meet-up for lunch. What a blessed time of fellowship, open Bibles in the restaurant and animated discussion of the Word!
During our conversation he began talking about the difference in building with bricks and stones as an illustration in the context of Exodus 20:24-25. Let’s read,
24 You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.
I could immediately identify with his illustration as I had written a related article almost a year ago. His angle was slightly different, but the points are inextricably connected.
While the verses above deal specifically with the building of the altar, it is apparent, our Father does not want or need us trying to take something He made and make it ‘better.’ (Yes, there is also the illustration/understanding of using our ‘works’ to approach Him.)
Jeff’s specific application was the stone or rock of God’s Word as compared to the the seeming nice neat lines and corners on the bricks (or hewn stones) of man-made doctrines. While the illustration has limitations, we can certainly understand and recognize the connections between man-made bricks/doctrines and these verses,
Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it. Deu. 12:32
You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deu. 4:2
Only be strong and very courageous; [a]be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may [b]have success wherever you go. Joshua 1:7
Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
6 Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. Prov. 30:5-6
We must be exceedingly careful to NOT incorporate doctrines and traditions of men that sound logical, but fail to take into account all of the Word. Some are seductive twistings that are fairly modern in theological history (pre-tribulation rapture), while others are blindingly obvious, but so well accepted that they are considered ‘unquestionable fact (Sunday worship or Christmas/Easter pagan holy days).’
If I were a builder and the structure I was creating was found to have substandard materials in it, I would immediately be concerned because the Building Inspector would fail my hard work. I would set out to remove and replace those articles that would fail inspection.
Unfortunately, in churchianity, most prefer to turn a blind eye or ignore the obvious errors hoping other laborers won’t notice. They even go so far as to defend or try to explain the value of the error while forgetting that there will be a Day of Reckoning when THE Inspector will fail them.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
Read the context of that chapter and you will see that when Yeshua speaks He uses multiple ‘synonyms’ for ‘Torah.’ Over and over. That is ‘His teaching’ the crowds are amazed at in v. 28!
DOING the will of the Father IS walking according to the Torah, not according to the doctrines of men.
What building materials are you using? Bricks or stone?