Today, Abba has brought to me more revelation about how interpretation and tradition can counterfeit and/or compromise His Instruction - Torah - and rob us of its intent and essential power. There is an underlying intent in Torah, an attitude of the heart that is reflected in obedience to and reliance on its instruction, which brings us into fellowship with the Author of these instructions. Matthew records Yeshua’s clarification of the intent of Torah to the people on the mountain. Yeshua was absolutely clear about this when He spoke the words: “you have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . .” Time after time He explained that outward compliance and/or mental assent to the instructions does not produce the relationship to the God of the commands that is intended.
It is as if we see the whole thing inside out or backwards. Tradition, custom, interpretation have put the doing first - relationship by works. I believe what Abba says is first, “Come to Me”, then, “Let Me love you and show you what pleases Me.” Again, Yeshua addressed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders when He declared them to be whitewashed tombs - shiny and impressive on the outside (doing all the stuff) but dead and stinking on the inside. Have I been more concerned about compliance to rules and less than diligent to draw near? Abba says, “Yes.” I am mortified. How does tradition and interpretation turn everything upside down?
Torah is supernatural instruction designed to transform, not re-arrange. For example, the Hebrew word translated covet is chamad and means to take delight or pleasure in something. Delight and pleasure are aspects of our flesh (nefesh) that must be directed to operate within certain limits. Torah establishes the parameters of delight and pleasure. We are to delight and take pleasure in YHVH, the Sabbath, our own spouses, creation, even discipline. It also tells us what we must not take delight and pleasure in. Let’s look at the commandment on coveting from Exodus 20:17. You must not take delight and pleasure (covet) in your neighbor’s house, wife, servant, livestock or anything they own.
When conformity to rules becomes the rule, it generally deteriorates into some sort of regulation of you to benefit me. Take the commandment on coveting, for instance. If we are not surrendering to YHVH’s intent to have a heart that loves our neighbor, the result is jealousy, envy, and coveting instead of delighting and taking pleasure in their blessing.
Can we see this practically today? I will draw on personal experience here. I have been in fellowships where tradition and interpretation establish the parameters where certain behaviors are banned, certain dress codes must be adhered to, etc. Without exception, the rules are intended to alleviate sin triggers of those who made the rules, usually leadership. Take the purpose of veiling moslem women. It is to keep the men from lusting (coveting) after them. The men are not held accountable for controlling themselves so the women need to be regulated.
What has just happened? The mind has ceased to focus on what is pleasing to YHVH, and is checking to see whether the person in front of me is dressed properly, behaving correctly, speaking in tongues, has the right bible version, is or is not smoking, ad nauseum. A counterfeit torah has been set up and there is no life in it.
This is a time designed to get us back on track. Is the intention of Torah manifesting in your/my life? What aspect or aspects of your/my life are not about getting closer to YHVH? What needs to be confessed, repented of and forgiven during this time of Teshuvah - returning to the purpose and intent of the One who established righteousness for us. Father, instruct your children in the way of Your heart that we may bring glory to Your Holy Name.
“For man sees the outward appearance, but YHVH looks at the heart.” Samuel 16:7