Devotion 6 in the series Lead Me to the Rock: Matthew 7, The Wise and Foolish Builders

Don’t Be Fooled: Are You Standing on the Solid Rock?

Inside: The storm will roll in. It will come in the form of a relational crisis, a health scare, a financial loss, or any number of possibilities. In that moment, will you feel the sand slipping out from under your feet, or will you stand secure on the solid rock?

A roll cloud, turquoise and dark blue, coming in over a green treeline with a field in the foreground

The storm rolled in that day, the sky a brilliant turquoise and ominous dark blue, the wind blowing the clouds swiftly by. I took quick shelter as the torrential rain and hail pounded the land. Despite the list of home improvements brewing, I felt secure inside the walls of my house.

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There comes a point where the rubber meets the road. You decide to go to work or go to college. You say yes or no to the marriage proposal. You take up healthy eating or a new fitness routine or you don’t. You point your heart toward Jesus or away.

In Matthew 7, Jesus closes His Sermon on the Mount with a parable about two builders–one wise, one foolish. His famous preceding sermon covered a wide range of challenging matters. See if some of these hard topics don’t make you squirm:

  • Live as salt and light, not as blandness and darkness.
  • Avoid anger and lust.
  • Instead of retaliating, turn the other cheek and be generous.
  • Love your enemies, even pray for them.
  • Give to the needy.
  • Lay up treasures in heaven, not treasures on earth.
  • When you feel like judging, remove the log from your own eye before concerning yourself with the speck in someone else’s eye.
  • Treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you’re like me, you look at that abbreviated list and realize your failings in almost every area. You should see what I left out!

These weren’t exactly comfortable topics for Jesus’ audience, either. Jesus turned conventional, me-first wisdom on its head and promoted humility, servanthood, and compassion.

And then Jesus drove the point home with the parable of the builders. He likened the person who hears His words and puts them into action to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:25 ESV)

The wise builder did not live a problem-free life. The storm still rolled in, with all of its ominous clouds and raging winds, even floods. But because the man had chosen wisely and built his house on the solid rock, his house did not fall.

On the other hand, the foolish builder heard Jesus’ words and did not put them into practice.

And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:27 ESV)

The storm rolled in, with all of its ominous clouds and raging winds, even floods. But because the man had built his house on sand, not on solid rock, his house fell. Not only that, but the fall was cataclysmic.

In effect, Jesus was saying at some point, the rubber meets the road.

We might know all about Jesus–how the Old Testament repeatedly points to Him, the details of His entrance onto earth’s stage, and His mission of servanthood and sacrifice on this earth.

But the rubber meets the road when we are challenged to live out our faith in obedience, following Jesus’ call to live as He outlines in the Sermon on the Mount.

So I look at that list, and I know that I daily fail to fully obey. My humanness, my selfishness, my sin prevent me from being able to live up to those expectations. The rubber meets the road, and I am sliding off the corner, skidding into the bumpy, unkempt grass.

What are we do to?

I love Jesus’ play on words:

The parable is not just a simple story of a man building his family’s three-bedroom house on deep cement footings, but rather a call to build our very lives on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ and His redeeming love. The wise builder’s whole life was founded on the Rock.

We simply cannot get everything right. The bar is set high, and in our imperfection, it is unattainable. Our only hope is to trust in Jesus. All other ground is sinking sand.

Hymn writer Edward Mote penned these words after reflecting on this parable:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

On what is your hope placed? Is it on income, the physical frame of your house, your currently good health, or your earthly achievements? At some point, all of those wash away, sands slipping out from under our feet.

The storm will roll in. It will come in the form of a relational crisis, a health scare, a financial loss, or any number of possibilities. The sky will look ominous. The wind will blow hard, and events will swirl swiftly.

In that moment, where will you find shelter? As the torrential rain and hail pound your heart, to whom will you turn? You’ll have a list of things you wish you would have done differently (home improvements). In your humanness, you will not have measured up to every last iota of perfection.

Will you feel the sand slipping out from under your feet, or will you stand secure on solid ground?

Only in Jesus, the Solid Rock, can we be made whole, because it is through His sacrifice on the cross that we are made right in God’s eyes. We marvel at this undeserved grace, bestowed on us while we were still sinners. Jesus’ compassion extends even to us, with our logs in our eyes and our hearts struggling to truly love our enemies.

On what foundation are you laying your life?

This is our last devotion in the series Lead Me to the Rock. Next week, we start a series on miracles. I can’t wait! In the meantime, be sure to dig into God’s Word and wrestle with this week’s Digging Deeper questions.

Digging into God’s Word: Solid Rock or Sinking Sand?

I encourage you to read Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7, the Sermon on the Mount. Note Jesus’ strong commands, His equally firm compassion and mercy, and His challenge at the end to put His words into practice. The parable of the wise and foolish builders is reprinted below, for your convenience.

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Digging Deeper: Solid Rock or Sinking Sand?

Treasure this time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.

1. As you read through the Sermon on the Mount, which of Jesus’ points nails you between the eyes? Which of the teachings in this sermon are most difficult for you to follow? Talk with God about those, asking Him to mold and shape your heart.

2. Consider carefully: On what foundation are you building your life? Do you spend your time and energy focusing on your income, keeping your house up, your health, or your earthly achievements? Or are you pressing hard toward Christ and the things of heaven? What does it mean to you that Jesus can be described as the Solid Rock?

3. Confess your sins to the Lord and ask for strength to make any needed changes. Thank goodness, Jesus forgives us our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). His forgiveness is free to all who call on Him. Ask Jesus to be your solid rock today.

4. Worship with these songs to remind you of the value of building your life on the sure foundation, the Solid Rock, of Jesus. Choose one or all of the songs to listen to, or come back to these songs throughout the week.

I Have This Hope (Tenth Avenue North)

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (Norton Hall Band. This hymn was originally written by Edward Mote. For the history behind this hymn, see this article.)

Cornerstone (Hillsong)

I Will Lift My Eyes (Bebo Norman)

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Find Past Series

You can find Past Devotions from other series on the website under the Devotions menu or at www.diggingdeeperwithgod.com/past-devotions/.

Two of the most popular series have been Hope Springs Eternal and All In: A Study of Elisha.

Next week, we’ll start a series on miracles.

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Free Printable on Psalm 103

A few weeks ago, we finished a series on Leaving a Legacy, which focused on living out the characteristics that God models for us in Psalm 103. For a printable on What Psalm 103 Tells Us About God, click this link:

What Psalm 103 Tells Us About God

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