Fulfill God Given Patterns

See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. Hebrews 8:5

….listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it… Deuteronomy 4:1, 2

God gives us His patterns for all aspects of our lives and endeavors so we can succeed in life and glorify His name. Accurate patterns bring life when they are accurately fulfilled. God’s word tells us not to add or to take away from the pattern He shows us, so that we can have the life and success that the pattern promises. We avoid additions or subtractions to God’s plans by keeping the pattern as our model and determining we will do whatever He says. We are not to subtract or add to God’s patterns.

Subtractions take place when we don’t do everything we have been shown, leaving off some detail or try to hurry things up without due process. We will not see the promised results by skipping steps. For example, Moses was shown in the pattern of the tabernacle he was to build for the worship of God to make all the pillars out of a certain kind of tree, the acacia tree. This is a tree that grows in the wilderness, not in a forest. It is a hard wood that grows twisted and full of knots. It is hard to shape into a pillar. God choose this tree on purpose. Why not use cedar trees instead, which grow in forests straight and tall and are easy to shape. They were not in God’s pattern. Moses was obedient, though many would have settled for the easier and quicker cedar tree. The results were ideally suited to symbolize the work of God in us. God finds our lives in desert places, twisted and resistant to shaping and makes us into pillars of faith as we yield to Him. Once it is cured and shaped it doesn’t bend or break under stress or burdens. And the acacia tree becomes insect and rot resistant when it is seasoned. God knew what He was doing when He choose this wood instead of the cedar tree. The cedar may have been quicker and easier to make into pillars, but it wouldn’t serve God’s purposes. Paying attention to the details is important. Each detail of the pattern is significant and necessary. Just because it doesn’t make sense to us is no cause for neglecting it. Just because it requires something of us that is uncomfortable is no cause for us to avoid it. Not doing what needs to be done causes just as many problems as doing things that shouldn’t be done.

When additions are added to God’s patterns, the results clutter up the beauty and purity of God’s glory. By adding more, we actually take away from the purpose of the Lord in and through our lives.

Addition takes place in two ways.

Number One: Addition through substitution (additional things that are not in the pattern). This takes place when we decide we don’t like something in the pattern and choose to substitute it with something that we do like. Example: God gives us a pattern for financial success that includes tithing (giving a tenth of all our increase to God). For various reasons we may choose to substitute the tithe with a convenient amount that we give, our leftovers. If I have anything left over after my expenses and doing what I want, then I will give something as a offering. While this may make a great deal of sense to us, this substitution will not lead to financial success because it is not according to God’s pattern.

Number Two: Addition through replication (if something is good then more is better). Sometimes more is less. We are prone to think that if a little is good then more will be better. But if the pattern doesn’t call for more, we won’t add anything of value to the endeavor. We can take a good thing and run it into the ground through overkill. What was met for life can generate death. There is wisdom in God’s simplicity. For example, if we are called to help someone overcome a problem in their lives, we need to be careful that we don’t take over their lives in telling them what to do about everything. This overbearing approach has been the source of much spiritual abuse. It is a good example of turning a life giving thing into a source of bondage and death. We need to stay to the pattern, and not intrude into things that are not our concerns. Another example is found in the use of time. It is easy to think that if five minutes of a certain activity is life giving, then twenty five minutes of the same thing will be five times better. But it is often not the case. If the pattern is completed in five minutes, then spending another twenty minutes afterwards doing the same thing is a waste of time. For instance, it may only take you five minutes to teach someone what they need to know, but we spend another twenty minutes saying it over and over again because we think more is better, and instead of being a blessing we have frustrated the patience of the one we are trying to help. Sometimes, more is less. In each case we over ride the wisdom of the pattern because we think we know better. The results are less, not more.

Deuteronomy 12:32
Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

Do what the pattern shows you to do and you will have the results the pattern promises you will have. Do less, you will have less – Do more and you will still have less. Simply, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Do it that way. Do it during that time. Do it in that place. Do it accurately and faithfully. The results will be life giving.