“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-28
Did you know that sand is a pretty good substance on which to build a house? In fact, according to the University of Minnesota Extension, "If the subsoil is coarse (sand, loamy sand), water drains through it rapidly (assuming there is no high water table). Coarse-textured soils are easily excavated and quite stable during both dry and wet conditions." Of course a firm and solid foundation of bedrock is a good place to build too. Considering this passage, however, there are two things most of us miss.
First, it is the location of the sand. Whenever we think sand, we think beach. When we think beach we think ocean. In reality, those in Israel were more familiar with the desert and something called wadies. A wadi is a dry riverbed. Though water does not consistently flow there, when the rare rains come, even if they occur miles away, they are subject to torrential flash flooding. These flood are responsible for killing more people in the wilderness than heat, thirst and animals combined. Because of the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the sand lined wadis, they just don't make good places to build homes. Note the wording of a portion of the passage in the NIV (emphasis mine): "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Second, we get so caught up in houses, construction and materials, we miss the message that compares the way the houses withstand the sudden onset of potential calamity with hearing and acting on the word of God.
Beloved, it is a sure thing that problems, challenges, threats and storms will come our way. Nowhere in the bible is it promised that these things will not happen. It is actually implied that they will. Rains, winds and floods happen every day to this day. The difference in wisdom and foolishness and the difference in the outcome of the storms is found in the decision to adhere to the given word of God. It is important to note that hearing or being aware of what God has to say to us is not enough. Acting on the word or according to it is the critical piece. Our parents told us not to put anything into electrical sockets. We all heard it. Only those who heeded do not have stories of suffering to share (unless they are relating those of others).
Let us not subject ourselves to a great fall. We know the difference between good and bad and right and wrong. We know what God has said. Even if we do not agree, if our desire is to be contrary or if we are skeptical of the outcome, God is worthy of our trust. Let us be wise. Let us not build our lives in areas that are in harms way but let us elevate out of the river bottom and build on the Rock that is Jesus who sits on high where surely there is safety even in the storm.