Are you a lone rock, a rock in a pile, or a rock being built into a wall?
As I completed preparation of my recent email coaching Leadership course, it is this picture that has stayed clear in my mind; the comparison of rocks and people and how they are related. Messiah compared rocks to people when He observed that if the children didn't praise Him, the rocks thmeselves would cry out. Peter confirmed the comparison in these words:
A rock, or a person, "alone" may have a relationship with Messiah but does not have close relationships with other believers. A rock, or a person "in a pile" may have a relationship with Messiah, and may sometimes be in close proximity with others who also know Him in some kind of relationship. But a rock, or a person "being built into a wall" is an individual believer, brought together in a specific way in relationship with other believers, learning to function together. A wall serves a specific purpose, keeping things in or out, which is quite different from a simple pile of rocks. I see this as a metaphor confirming the need for relationship and training to come together as the Body of Believers, and more specifically as His Bride, so that we live and move and function together under His Headship. It is about relationship to one another in Him and represents far more than smiply being near one another occasionally. It involves learning our position, our authority, and our responsibilities as part of His family.
There has been no question for those who study the Whole Word of YHVH that His Word is important to study and to know. Countless teachers expound on the text. What has been less clearly understood I believe is that study of the Word is only half of the full picture. The remaining aspect was outlined by Solomon in Proverbs 1: 8-9, the importance of both what is called the father's teaching (Knowledge of the Word) and of equal importance, the mother's teaching (character development and maturity.)
If the focus is on gaining knowledge alone through the study of the Word without attention to relationship, the result is often instability, lack of unity and almost literally going in circles.
If the focus is on relationship and character development alone, without knowledge gained through the study of the Word, the result is more akin to secular humanism.
Together these two aspects of the work of the Kingdom of Yah work like chains about the neck or two reins leading a horse or camel, leading to a full, mature understanding of His teachings and the ability to walk them out. Leading with either "rein" alone will not set a positive course.
When explored more closely, Messiah's words, as recorded in John and printed below, confirm my concern that we recognize the value of both Scriptural knowledge and the context of relationship. (All part of preparing Messiah's Bride, I have been continuing my studies of the concept of the Bride as a Wall. I won't repeat that study here but encourage you to consider it.)
1 Peter 2:5 NKJV
A house can be built of stones made into walls. This metaphorical house can easily be seen to refer to the House of YHVH, but the next phrase makes it clearer that it is the relationships with the people, as the priesthood, that is the focus. Peter went on to confirm that it happens through Messiah which again confirms the relational aspect of His work on our behalf. It is the work of His kingdom to build set apart relationships with and among His people and our Echad YHVH. (As you likely know, being "set apart for His purposes" is the literal meaning of "being holy.") This appears to me to be a fulfillment of an earlier declaration and confirmed in later declarations.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
Names are often inscribed on stone, and a Bride does get a new name when she marries.
In Peter's metaphor, we see confirmation that these stones are living, which is from the Greek word zao, Strong's G2198, meaning "to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)." Metaphorically, it is said to "be in full vigor" "to be fresh, strong, efficient" and as an adjective "active, powerful, efficacious."
The Bride is pictured in many ways throughout Scripture, as has been explored in earlier articles, but certainly among them is this picture of being a wall.
And they will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you," says the LORD.
Jeremiah 15:20 NKJV
As noted extensively in the earlier studies, the word for wall in these instances is the same: chowmah. Strong's H2346.It carries an association with joining and encompassing or in other words, the relationship of the wall with itself and with what it contains.
If we are to be built into that fortified brazen wall as His Bride, as the vigorous, effective, fresh and strong stones that become the wall, then surely we must pay attention to His Words. In the verse in consideration today, which was given in the context of an appeal and rebuke of those who questioned His healing work, He outlined the contradiction between their great knowledge and their unrecognized need for relationship with Him.
He highlighted the difference between searching the Word for knowledge of Him to gain eternal life and the willingness to actually come to Him to receive that life.
The word translated as "search" is from Strong's G2045 - erauna which means "to search, examine into." The word translated as "willing" is from Strong's G2309 - thelomodified by Strong's G3756 - ou which makes it a negative, "NOT willing." The word translated as "come" is from Strong's G2064 - erchomai which means literally "to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning." Metaphorically, it can mean "to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself... to become known, to come (fall) into or unto" or "to go" or "to follow one."
Messiah was telling them that they were willing to search out the knowledge they found in the Word, but they were not willingto actually come to Him in the sense of not just physically presenting themselves to Him, but also showing themselves to become known by Him, falling unto Him or following after Him. In this, I see confirmation of the words of Solomon:
Proverbs 1:8-9 NKJV
"Instruction" is from Strong's H4148 - muwcarmeaning "discipline, chastening, correction." "Law" is from Strong's H8451 - towrahwhich refers to:
A. law, direction, instruction
C. custom, manner
D. the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Law
I find this to be a very interesting use of "Torah" as law, as it relates to the mother while the word meaning discipline, chastisement is related to the father's instructions. How are the two teachings different? Historically, it has been interpreted as meaning that the mother's teachings are relational and are to come first for the children. Then on the foundation of the character and personal growth the formal study of the Law, the written Torah, is built through the teaching of the father.
Can you see Messiah's reference to both kinds of knowledge in these words? He compared and contrasted the knowledge gained by searching the written Word with the knowledge gained by actually coming to Him in relationship and allowing oneself to know and be known by Him, in submission to Him, following after Him. He validated both father and mother's teachings here. Both fatherly and motherly love together form a more complete picture of the love our YHVH has for us than either could alone.
There are several instances of the "motherly' aspect of our Abba's character and love for us. In the beginning, the Spirit hovered over the waters, in a sort of motherly picture of a bird hovering over her nest. We see it in the Hebrew title, "El Shaddai" which is often translated as the "All Sufficient One" but can also more literally be understood as "the many breasted one." Do you see the motherly reference in Messiah's cry of pain to the Pharisees?
Matthew 23:37 and nearly word for word Luke 13:34 KJV
I say to you that knowledge of the Word alone is not His plan for us. I say that dealing with maturity and character issues alone is not His plan for us. His call to us is for relationship with Him and with one another in Torah community. It is all well and good to be a living stone, but it is not His entire plan. It is all well and good to be a living stone in proximity to other stones, but it is not His entire plan. A primary failing throughout the generations of those who follow the Elohim of Israel has been to teach knowledge alone without the undergirding of character, maturity and relational connections.
In American society, we can see the fallacies that erupt through failing to lead with the Word, the father's teaching, concentrating only on self-esteem and character, the mother's relational teaching. In the American Messianic movement we can see the division and strife that occurs when only one leading "rein" has been emphasized, the father's teaching. As the two types of teaching are brought together in collaboration, we will begin to see His restoration, the two becoming one in yet another sense and witness.
Through the balanced teaching of both father and mother, we are to be built together in relationship with one another and through Him so that we are strong, efficient and effective in standing as a wall for His Truth in a fallen broken world that is constantly contesting Truth.
Blue Letter Bible. "Peter's First Epistle - 1 Peter 2 - (NKJV - New King James Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2014. 14 Jun 2014. http://www.blbclassic.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Pe&c=2&t=NKJV
Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for towrah (Strong's 8451)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2014. 14 Jun 2014. http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H8451&t=KJV