Laying the Proper Foundation
March 6, 2022
B’ney Yosef North America (BYNA) came into being six years ago with a reasonable amount of fanfare and no small measure of grand expectation. Have our expectations been met? It’s difficult to say, honestly. How can we measure “success”? Should we even be thinking in those terms? There is a temptation to focus so much on the notion of success (or non-success) that we lose sight of our purpose and direction. Yet a healthy dose of self-evaluation fuels future endeavors. With that in mind, we ask, what is success anyway?
Ingredients of success include vision, ideas, commitment, hard work, adaptability, and perseverance. Resources help, and successful endeavors generate resources even if they have little at the beginning. However, there is one more essential element for achieving success that lasts – the kind of success that changes lives and worlds. That one thing is wisdom.
It all starts and ends with the fear of the Lord. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10). According to one description of Messiah, wisdom stands at the head of a list that ends with the fear of the Lord:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2 (ESV)
The end of the list in Isaiah points us back to the beginning of wisdom: the fear of the Lord. Let’s consider the fear of the Lord as the foundation or backdrop for a pattern in this passage – a progression from wisdom to understanding to knowledge. Our Creator bestowed those same qualities on Bezalel, the craftsman who oversaw construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-3). It’s no coincidence that they are listed in the same order in Exodus, as well as in Proverbs:
By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24:3-4 (ESV)
Think of wisdom as a building or structure like the Tabernacle. The Spirit of Wisdom imparts the vision of that structure – its form, function, components, and place within a network or community. Such a structure must rest on a firm foundation, which is what the Spirit of Understanding imparts. Knowledge is what fills the structure, like the furniture of the Tabernacle fills that holy space so it can be used according to the wise intent behind the vision.
That’s the way this process is supposed to work, but too often we have it backward. Our focus tends to be on solutions rather than process. In building structures, systems, and institutions, our human perspective leads us to conclude that success is measured in big organizations, large social media followings, gala events, and fat budgets. Our efforts go toward building such things using the tried-and-true marketing techniques that have ensured the rise of countless movie stars, political factions, Fortune 500 corporations, and megachurches. What we don’t recognize is that the rapid rise of anyone and anything often ends in a rapid fall, leaving no lasting impact.
This is the lesson we at BYNA have been learning for six years. It seems our Creator has made sure we stick to His schedule, and that we acquire wisdom in proper measure before moving on to the next steps. Each time we have tried to build the big following by conventional means, we realized we were relying mostly on our knowledge of the scriptures (especially the voluminous promises of Ephraim’s restoration), and of marketing and other useful tools. The roadblocks, detours, and disappointments along the way have helped us understand that applying knowledge without wisdom and understanding is like buying nice furniture before we have a foundation to put it on and a structure to go over it.
We like to think we have acquired a bit of wisdom over the years, especially when it comes to getting along with each other and with others in the Body of Messiah who may not agree with us on all points. Wisdom is the foundation that ensures we move forward together, or we don’t move at all. Wisdom waits until the cloud lifts from the Tabernacle before setting off on the journey, even if that means sitting in the same campground for a very long time. Wisdom leads to understanding of the Lord‘s timing, because the fear of the Lord requires the wise person to remain where the Lord is.
In this past year, we have had indications that the time to move is near. That’s why our website is finally in good working order, our social media presence is growing, and we have begun participating in forums, ministries, and meetings involving diverse elements of Messiah’s Body. Where this is all going is still unclear, but we are glad that we don’t have any furniture sitting out in the weather. Having labored to lay the right foundation and build the structure in the way the Lord has shown us, we expect the furnishings to come in proper order.
We hope you will enjoy the “Best of BYNA” as we celebrate our sixth anniversary on March 6th, 2022. Father has blessed us and the work of our hands but there is still much to be done.
Al McCarn, BYNA Executive Director
Ron Runyon, BYNA Prayer Director