Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 26 October 2016

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.  For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.  Hebrews 3, verse 3-4.

Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence.   But if you want to be truly accurate, Jefferson wrote the draft (borrowing heavily from the philosophy of Locke and Montesquieu) and it was a committee of four people (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston) who edited the draft and produced the document that the original Founding Fathers all signed.  Yet we give the credit to Jefferson.

“Barack Obama wrote the Affordable Care Act.”   Actually, that’s factually wrong.   He signed it into law, but the law was crafted, with his input, by numerous other members of the Democrat Party.  But we give the credit – and the blame – to President Obama.

Gutzon Borglum carved Mount Rushmore…but it was actually a whole crew of carvers and construction engineers over several years.  Donald Trump built, well, every hotel, casino and building with his name on them…but it was actually thousands of construction workers, designers, managers, and planners all working together (with better hair).  I built a house in Falcon, Colorado in 2002…but actually I did nothing more than purchase a nearly-complete home that someone else had built.

The builder gets more credit than the building itself.   Or those who actually construct the structure.   It’s natural, very typical, that we do this.   You can read for yourself that this goes all the way back to the author of Hebrews.   Practically speaking, it almost assuredly goes back further than that.  It’s natural that we remember Hannibal but don’t know the names of the soldiers, officers, and even other generals who campaigned with him.   It’s natural that we remember the names of famous actors from the silent movie period but the names of lesser actors and extras are lost in obscurity.

The builder has greater honor than the house itself.

My early life experience is military.   I was in the Air Force for 13 years (eleven active, two reserve).   In the military I learned to operate within and be assured by the chain of command.   God is the ultimate commander, living at the top of that chain.   From the lowest protozoa to the complex ‘colonel’ of man, everyone has a place in the chain (whether command or food).   When great battles are fought or lost, history remembers the name of the commander because the commander is responsible for all those below him and all that they do.  That’s another example of the builder being greater than the house itself.

Notice, too, the subtle way the verses confirm that Jesus is God.    Verse 3 says that Jesus is greater than Moses, and then verse 4 equates Jesus with God.   Because He is God.

What’s the purpose?   Even today in the most liberal Jewish practices, Moses is revered as the greatest Jew who ever lived.   Scripture refers to Moses in much the same way.   Three verses from Deuteronomy give Moses’ epitaph:   “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”  Moses led millions out of oppression.   Moses recorded God’s laws, which are the basis for all western law and civilization.   Moses served as the commander of an army of millions.   Moses stood in front of God personally.

And Jesus is more powerful than Moses.   Jesus is more powerful, more worthy of honor, power, recognition, and glory than the greatest hero of Jewish antiquity.  We remember Moses but not the names of most of the Israelites who lived in his day.   How much more so should we and do we remember Jesus, who is greater than Moses, who built ‘the house’ in which Moses and the rest of the world lived?

For more reading:   Deuteronomy 34:10-12.

Lord, You are worthy of all praise, glory, love, and adoration.   You are over everything.


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