If you knew me well, you’d quickly learn that I’m not an arts-and-crafts person. Even my best attempts at “easy, follow-along” projects somehow seem to go awry. Just ask my family about my attempt to paint a landscape scene of some birch trees at one of those girls-gabbing-while-making-magic-on-a-canvas events. (I’ll give you a clue: the first phrase out of my son’s mouth when he saw it was “zebra cakes.”) Needless to say, I will not be asked to lead any such event in the near future.
The same is true when it comes to the various home renovation projects we take on from time to time. I kind of have an eye for home decor, but beyond choosing paint colors and racking up massive carts full of “finishing touches” at Wayfair and Target, I’m essentially a burden to any project we undertake. I don’t have the vision, the patience, or the skills to do what the project requires.
So, when we decided to remodel our basement this summer, while my school-administrator-husband navigates school in light of COVID and takes classes toward his master’s degree, the decision was clear: this would not be a family DIY project. We needed to choose a better builder—one with the skills, time, and vision to make the project a success.
The Better Builder of Hebrews 3
The third chapter of Hebrews presents two builders, in a comparison of sorts: Moses and Jesus. To the book’s original readers, Moses would have been the epitome of solid construction and beautiful design—Chip and Joanna Gaines all rolled into one—as he led the Jewish people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and to the threshold of the Promised Land in an attempt to build a nation that would be pleasing to God. The author of Hebrews agrees, saying that “Moses also was faithful in all God’s house” (v. 2), and that he, though not to the same degree as Jesus, was worthy of glory (v. 3). But you know what? As faithful as Moses was in the reno project of God’s house, Jesus was, and is, the supreme builder.
What was it about Jesus that made Him worthy of so much more glory than Moses? (Keep in mind, this idea would have been mind-blowing to the Jewish people.) Let’s look at verses three and four:
Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
Moses had been instrumental in leading God’s people for a time. He played a part in building the house of Israel, but Jesus? He was the ultimate provider of every tool at Moses’ disposal. He provided the tools, the resources, and every mercy necessary for Moses’ journey, including Moses’ own belief in the Father’s plan. And in the end, Jesus Himself built His Father’s house—His Church (Matt. 16:18; Mark 14:58)—with His hands and by His blood.
Jesus is not only the builder of His Father’s house, but He is the buyer, and the heir as well. “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant,” we read in verse 5, “to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son” (3:6).
Jesus is the builder, the owner, and the rightful heir of the house that He built and redeemed for Himself. He has built it without a single scuff of imperfection, and though He owns it already outright, He continues to carefully lay each additional stone in place, offering each one as a sweet sacrifice to His Father (1 Peter 2:5).
Jesus is building a better Bride. Moses led valiantly (well, stumbling at times, but valiant nonetheless), but he led a rebel bride, who was thirsty for her own pursuits. As Hebrews 3:10–11 tells us,
“Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
The nation Moses led was half-hearted, adulterous, and bent on having her own way, but the Bride that Christ is preparing for Himself is pure, rejoicing, and at the ready to meet her groom, as in the song of Revelation 19:6–8,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
The Church is the better Bride, but Jesus is not content to leave even one rogue bridesmaid in the rags of rebellion—He calls to those who will hear His voice (Heb. 3:15). Jesus called. He is calling. And He will continue to call until the last sheep hears His voice.
DI-Why and DI-Don’t
Hebrews 3, though beautiful, ends with a sharp-edged warning. So before I set all of you budding craftswomen (and not-so-crafty women, like me) free to pin and paint and do all of the DIY things, I have to ask: Have you heard the voice of Jesus calling? He calls you through His Spirit and through His Word. Have you heard Him?
If you have heard His voice, but have never fallen before Him to be reconciled, why not do that right now? Do it while it’s still called today (Heb. 3:13). The patience of God is infinite, but one day every knee will bow to the Builder, and it will be too late for those who don’t dwell in His House. Don’t delay responding to the already paid-for help you so desperately need.
And then one more don’t. Don’t harden your heart. Don’t be like those who provoked Moses for forty years and saw the Red Sea part, but were not allowed to see the Promised Land because of their disobedient, unbelieving hearts (Heb. 3:16–19). I’m not saying that you can lose your place at the banquet once you’ve feasted at the Builder’s table—if you know the Builder, you will indeed persevere. But the heart of verses 18 and 19 is this: You aren’t in danger of losing your belief because you have disobeyed the call. You disobey the call because you have not yet believed.
So don’t delay. Believe today. Stop trying to DIY your own salvation. You need Jesus, the better builder. A more skilled craftsman is nowhere to be found.