In the first installment of this series on the “Sermon on the Mount”, I talked about righteousness being the main focus of Yeshua’s Kingdom message. I also showed how He focused on the heart as opposed to head aspects of righteousness. In this message I want to illustrate exactly what Yeshua means by keeping the Torah and walking in righteousness at the heart level.
In order to understand how Yeshua (and therefore Abba Father) wants us to walk in righteousness in Yehovah’s Kingdom of light, we first need to dig down to a deeper level of scripture study. On the surface of these passages, it appears that Yeshua is saying things like: don’t focus on accumulating wealth (Matt 6:24), don’t judge others (Matt 7:1), don’t worry about your life (Matt 6:25), don’t show off when you’re helping out the poor (Matt 6:1), and don’t be a hypocrite about your fasting and praying (Matt 6:5,16).
However, when we dig down to the heart level of Yeshua’s message, we can quickly see that He is really talking about building healthy relationships as we are following the Torah and walking in righteousness. Let me give you a couple of brief object lessons to illustrate what I mean. Imagine for a moment that you are a member of a large congregation, and that every week when you go to worship services, you spend a few minutes before and after service saying hello and shaking hands with people that you either don’t know, or you know only as once-a-week acquaintances. You might even ask these people how they are doing or whether everyone is healthy in their family, but are you just going through the motions or sincerely reaching out to these people?
In the same way, let’s say you work with “Meals on Wheels” and take meals to home-bound people every day, but you never speak to them or show that you care about them in any way (other than just doing your job to help the poor because you know you’re supposed to). Do you think those people are going to think of you in a kind and caring way? Or will they just see that you are doing this out of obligation and you don’t really care about them personally? What is your heart motive in this scenario – are you doing this to feel good or look good, or do you truly look for ways to bring Yeshua’s love to them?
The key point Yeshua was addressing in His message is that you can be the most righteous person on earth from a human perspective (as many of the Pharisees were), doing good works every moment of the day. However, since Yehovah looks on the heart, from His perspective you could be like a whitewashed tomb (Matt 23:27), appearing to be good and righteous on the outside, but inside you are nothing but filthy rags (Isa 64:6). In this case, Yeshua could rightly say to you: ‘…I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt 7:23).
YHVH requires that we “…do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). He certainly wants us to follow His instructions in the Torah, but He judges us by our heart attitudes and motives more than by our actions. We would do well to examine ourselves from His perspective, following His word in our hearts and not just our heads.