In the illustration of building upon rock or sand, Jesus uses familiar symbols to illustrate the value of obedience to God. The Old Testament has many poetic references to God being a rock for his people. Isaiah spoke to a similar crowd using a similar picture.

Isaiah 28:
 14 So hear the word of the Lord, you foolish talkers who rule the people in Jerusalem.
 15 You say, “We made a treaty with death and an agreement with the grave. When the overwhelming disaster passes by, it won’t matter to us, because we have taken refuge in our lies, and falsehood is our hiding place.”
 16 This is what the Almighty Lord says:
 I am going to lay a rock in Zion, a rock that has been tested, a precious cornerstone, a solid foundation. Whoever believes in him will not worry.
 17 I will make justice a measuring line and righteousness a plumb line. Hail will sweep away your refuge of lies, and floodwaters will wash away your hiding place.
 18 Your treaty with death will be wiped away. Your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming disaster passes by, you will be trampled by it.

The religious leaders believed they were safe. Thinking they were invincible, they built a house of lies. They protected themselves with false beliefs.

What is sand? It is deconstructed rock. It is fragmentary evidence that something greater existed. Sand represents a past that cannot be reversed. The great rock has been disassembled. Isn’t that what we do with truth in this world? We deconstruct it from its original stature and properties. We settle and build on fragments of God rather than the bedrock that we have to dig for.

God prophesied a rock in Zion. Jesus was the Messiah who would instruct the citizens how to live and build a new house. His followers would have nothing to worry about in the face of disaster and judgment. Their house would be designed and built with justice and mercy as the code.

In the house of obedience, there is no worry about the storm. Judgment is not to be feared.

Are natural disasters the judgment of God on people? It’s an easy sermon when flood, fire or wind destroys the house of people you hold in low regard. Is the Almighty somehow acting out when a tornado strikes? Are Tsunamis and landslides ‘acts of God’ as your insurance company would have you believe?

If we are to look with judgment at these events, then let us look at our own fragility and foolishness. We build houses in the path of danger all the time. The earth itself is described as groaning and reeling—waiting for new birth. The universe is waiting for the King to bring balance and the citizens to participate in the earth’s care.

Right now, we are to focus on building for the Kingdom and waiting. There are many floods and disasters to come. God’s judgments will test the integrity of everything.

Those who live in obedience to Jesus dig deep and build strong. What can we say about Jesus as a foundation for our lives?

·      You have to dig below the surface to find secure footings. Most of what people tell us about life building is cosmetic and on the surface. The work of God’s Spirit will remove the top layers where others start building. Our lives start building in a different place.

·      Everything can be built for maximum integrity and strength when started right. A building is a work of harmonious structure. Each part is inter-dependent. Foundations support walls, floors and roof. Always start your build at the bottom.

·      The house will not wash away when floods come. The ways of God are trustworthy.