Build Upon the Rock

Almost lured to sleep atop his air mattress by the gentle rhythmic incoming tide, my dad didn’t see it coming. BAM! A random large wave pelted him downward into the sand before catapulting him onto the shore. That was the end of an otherwise relaxing vacation, and the beginning of his back pain.

Hopefully you haven’t been literally pelted by a random wave, or regular wave for that matter! But all of us experience setbacks and storms in life at one time or another. Like that wave, an unexpected storm barges in with surging winds of adversity, stripping everything bare, exposing our foundation.

All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented Himself as both the final authority and fulfiller of the Law. He finishes His sermon with not only a call to heed His message, but also to find one’s security in Him (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Jesus tells a story about two men: one who builds his house upon a rock and another who builds his house upon sand. I’m sure you know which house weathers the storm. Jesus calls this builder wise. But the house built on the sand collapses during the storm, and the builder is dubbed foolish.

A good foundation is obvious, but its importance can’t be overemphasized. The strength of a building lies in its foundation. The main purpose of the foundation is to hold the structure above it and keep it upright.

In this parable, Jesus gives us some wise words about the foundation of our lives: “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)

Our life foundation is crucial. We will face some storms in this life, and may even need to rebuild. Sometimes the pressure to heed the world’s advice and turn away from God’s words hits with hurricane force. At times, our own feelings bombard us inwardly to do the opposite of God’s will.

But despite these tensions, the wise person will follow God’s words as a result of trust and thankfulness. God will bless the one whose life is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. As we grow in trust and obedience, He will anchor our “house” in Him so that we are able to weather the storms. It is God who grows our hope and faith. The wise person is like the tree planted by the riverside, whose leaf does not wither (Psalm 1:1–3).

Why Study the Bible?

“If there is one terrible disease in the church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.”  – A.W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel

Growing up and regularly attending a Bible based church has truly been a blessing. But I confess, there have been times when I allowed my relationship with God to become too casual–viewing Him more as my buddy rather than the infinite, omnipotent King of Kings. A peruse of Job 38-41, however, quickly put things into proper perspective. 🙂

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When we apply ourselves to Bible study we grow in knowledge, wisdom and truth (Proverbs 2:6).

The Bible–A Map to Guide Us

God knows we desperately need a map to point us in the right direction. On our own we are lost sinners. His inspired Word provides the guidance we need to acquire His perspective and principles for living (Psalm 119). No wonder King David penned, “you [Lord] have exalted above all things your name and your word”  (Psalm 138:1-2).

Knowing God’s Commands

Matthew 7:1-13 records Jesus scolding the Pharisees for claiming to know God’s will in every detail of life. They created much confusion amongst the people by adding hundreds of their own petty rules and regulations to God’s laws. Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men,” (vs. 8).

Engaging Our Minds

Jesus used parables to explain spiritual truth, compelling listeners to think. He doesn’t want us to park our minds in neutral and follow Him in a blind free fall. He calls us to actively engage our minds in His Word (Matthew 22:37; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; 1 Corinthians 10:15; 1 Peter 3:15).

Other Benefits From Bible Study

  • Knowing Jesus Christ and God the Father: His justice and mercy
  • Understanding how to receive eternal life
  • Knowledge of the beginning and the end (Genesis, Revelation)
  • Training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • Combatting temptation and spiritual warfare (Matthew 4:1-4; Ephesians 6:10-18)
  • Understanding God’s purpose of spiritual gifts and the function of His church
  • Discernment of false teachers

The Take Away

God wants us to not only listen carefully to His instructions, but also obey (Hebrews 2:1; James 1:22-25).

ed81919a606f79fe2cf3cb280c73b462When we seek God through Bible study and prayer, He will come along beside us personally each day and help us carry out His principles. He will also grow our faith and bless our obedience.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  – 1 Timothy 4:16

Are you currently engaged in Bible study? Does a Christian ever reach a point when he/she doesn’t need God’s Word anymore?

Coming next—“Understanding Biblical Truth.”

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