A life anchored on the Rock
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).
The two builders:
This parable of Jesus concerns a wise man and a foolish man. One built his house on rock; the other built his house on sand. The difference in their houses was the foundations. Both man faced life’s difficulties… “The rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew.” The house built on the rock stood. The house built on the sand “fell with a great crash.” Palestine is known for torrential rains that can turn dry valleys (wadis) into raging torrents. Only storms reveal the quality of the work of the two builders. The point is that the wise person builds to withstand anything.
Jesus is illustrating that we can live wisely or foolishly. It depends on where we lay our foundation. A wise person represents those who put Jesus’ words into practice; they are building to withstand anything. Those who pretend to have faith, or have a merely intellectual commitment, are foolish builders. When the storms of life come, their structures fool no one, above all not God.
The ‘fool’ in the scripture:
The word Jesus used for the wise builder is not the word for philosophical wisdom; rather, it is the word for practical wisdom. It is synonymous with thoughtfulness, careful planning, and common sense. The term for the foolish builder means “dull.” We get our English word “moron” from this word. It is an insulting term.
In the Old Testament, “fool” indicates moral deficiency rather than intellectual deficiency. The fool who says in his heart, “There is no God,” has shut God out of his life (Psalm 14:1). Such a person is twisted that he or she is open neither to reason nor to God. The “fool” is neither ignorant nor an atheist. The word is synonymous with the wicked, who aggressively and intentionally flouts his independence from God and his commandments. The fool in his heart denies the practical import of God’s existence. He shuts off the affairs of this world from divine intervention and denies any personal accountability to God for his actions. Within the congregation he may mimic the sounds of faith, but his true self shows disregard for God and his commandments. In the New Testament, “fool” portrays a person who lacks understanding because he or she has not adequately taken God into account. Christians can be foolish if they fail to evaluate life’s issues from God’s perspectives.
Storms of life reveal the difference:
Before the storms came the two houses looked identical. They may have both been attractive, spacious, and comfortable. On the surface you couldn’t really tell which house was built on the sand and which was secured deep to the rock. It was only when the storms hit that you could see the difference in the homes.
It is impossible for us to tell who is genuine in their faith and who is not until the time of trial comes. Everybody sounds like a believer when times are good. True faith comes when we are called to trust him in the dark. The person who has a deep secured foundation always trusts God, relies on God, looks beyond the present to the eternal glory and runs to God rather than away from him.
Everyone is building their life:
This parable conveys the demand for radical submission to the exclusive lordship of Jesus, who fulfills the Law and the Prophets. It warns the disobedient that the alternative to total obedience, true righteousness, and life in the kingdom is defiance against God, a life that is self-centered, lack of love for God and for others and eternal damnation.
Everyone is building their life on some kind of foundation. There are only two choices: you either build on a solid and deep foundation or you build on a shallow and weak foundation. The picture is clear. You are either walking on God’s way, experiencing his transformation in your life, and knowing his strength for difficult times; or you are walking away from God, producing nothing of eternal value and are vulnerable to the storms that may come your way.
Are you the wise builder or the foolish builder? You are not born foolish or wise when it comes to laying the foundation of your life. That’s it. When laying the foundation of your life it’s your decision on whether to lay it on the loose and unstable sand or on secured and unshakable rock.