26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The imagery of the “house upon a rock” has dominated my mindset every time I read passages of the Sermon on the Mount. It seemed as if the following two verses in Matthew 7 just faded silently into the background. What a victorious and happy outcome for a house to go through the beating winds, floods and rains, and still be standing, unscathed after the onslaught of attacking storms.
But as I read on again, this time, beyond glossing over, the enormity of the remaining words of the chapter sweeps me away in a giant tidal wave as I vicariously feel the tremors of the house upon the sand.
Consider the concluding remarks of the Sermon on the Mount. According to Jesus, there are only two types of people: the wise and the foolish. One either belongs to one group or the other. There are no “in-betweens”. The wise are those who hear the sayings of Jesus and put them into practice. But wait, there are those who also hear His sayings, but Jesus calls them foolish. What makes them foolish? They simply hear the words of Jesus, but do not act upon them. They may be those who agree with the truth of His sayings and listen wholeheartedly. But they may also be those who have heard of Jesus and His words, but dismiss them outright, so of course they would not apply His teachings to their very own lives.
“These sayings of Mine”, what are they? In particular, and in the current context, they can immediately be linked to the Beatitudes and what Jesus said in His Sermon on the Mount. In general, since Jesus is “The Word” (John 1:1), “These sayings of Mine” can be associated with God’s Word, the Bible.
The wise have a fortunate result after digging hard into the rock, a difficult place as it requires tremendous effort to construct a house upon it, but storms leave the house standing.
The foolish have a devastating outcome after building their house upon the sand. Consider the looseness of this ground, the ease with which construction materials can be quickly set upon it. A house is one’s structure, a dwelling place, a place of belonging.
The shifting sand has no foundation. There is no anchor of Truth found in it, unlike the solid Rock. The sayings of Jesus were heard, but not put into practice. How profound that it is not enough to listen to God’s Word. How fearful it is to dismiss, reject, or neglect His Words. Jesus says that when the storms of life come, and they will come, anything built on top of this unreliable ground will be beaten severely by the winds and the rains and the floods. And the last words carry a stern warning: “And great was the fall of it.”
The great fall of one’s structure, one’s dwelling place, one’s place of belonging. Think of it. But here’s the good news: being wise or being foolish is a choice.