24. Therefore if anyone hears these sayings which I speak, and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock.
25. The rain fell, the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it did not fall, for it was built on a rock.
26. Everyone that hears these sayings which I speak, and does not do them, I will compare him to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.
27. And the rain fell, the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and it fell greatly.”
This teaching is one of my favourites from childhood. The lesson in it is so simple, and easy even for children to grasp, yet even as a kid I grasped an idea of how profound it was. Even as a kid, I understood that rock was a stronger material to build a house on than sand.
So Jesus calls us, not only to hear His sayings, but to go ahead and obey them, and do what He says. These teachings include those ones about loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, being the light that is set on a hill, being the salt of the earth, taking the narrow gate. Jesus tells us that by obeying these commandments, we will be like a wise man who carefully builds his house on a strong foundation of rock. v24
v25: “The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house….” – we can guarantee that we will face storms of life. Rains will fall, floods will come, and winds will blow and beat upon our lives, however, when our lives are built on the rock of Jesus, and true obedience to His teachings, we can be assured that our houses (and our lives) will be able to keep standing, and ultimately we will be accepted into God’s kingdom forever along with all His other faithful children.
“Everyone that hears these sayings which I speak, and does not do them….” It can be so easy to “pay lipservice” to the words and teachings of Jesus. Every Sunday, in churches across different cities, across different countries, people congregate who claim to be followers of the teachings of Jesus. But how many of these people TRULY pay any attention whatsoever to what Jesus teaches in the Bible? Forgive your enemies….bless those who curse you….hunger and thirst after righteousness. … these are teachings that I challenge myself with so often. I always have to check my heart. I want to get into heaven, I want to live with Jesus forever. I cannot afford to secretly ignore the teachings of Jesus and expect to be accepted by Him. Hearing the words that Jesus spoke and not doing them is like going to all the effort of building a house, but on the wrong foundation. As with the house built on the rock, the rains will certainly fall, the floods will come, and the winds will blow. The difference is that sand is clearly a very bad foundation for building a house. A house built on sand is weak from the foundations, and has no real defence against the storms of life – and will just crumble, or just fall flat. I think it is a bit like those houses that you hear about which are on the edges of land by the sea. One sudden landslide and the whole house simply collapses and falls down the cliff.
So it will be for us when we refuse to pay any real attention to what Jesus is truly teaching. We might just see all that we have built our lives upon just crumble, making our efforts disappear overnight, and leaving us with nothing to show for our hard work.
As last week we learned to take the narrow path, so let us also learn to build our lives on the rock. Now it might seem quicker and easier to just build our lives on sand, or to not bother to take the time to find out what foundation we are truly building our lives upon, or to be seduced by beautiful seaside views. Rock is stronger than sand, and this makes it harder to cut into. It might just seem easier to go off and work with an “easier” foundation. However, when those storms come, as they surely will, we will find ourselves either joyful for persevering with the difficult rock, or regretting the fact that we did not bother to persevere. The choice is ours.
Photo of lighthouse from Pixabay