Their Rock Is Not As Our Rock
by Impact Church
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock,… And 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…” (Matthew 7:24,26)
In an old “Peanuts” comic strip, Charlie Brown is pictured on the beach building a beautiful sand castle. When it is completed, a very self-satisfied Charlie stands back to admire his creation. Then, a single raindrop falls,…and in the cartoon’s final frame, the rain is coming down in torrents.
Charlie Brown, looking quite pensive, simply offers: “There’s a lesson of some kind in this, someplace.”
Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was a passionate believer who knew what his famous philosophical character was trying to articulate. As Jesus was bringing the Sermon on the Mount to an end in Matthew 7, perhaps the most important point of His timeless message was the parable of two builders and two foundations. Such a simple but profound thought: when storms and adversity come, only that which is built on the right foundation will endure.
Of course, Jesus the carpenter from Galilee knew that was true in the natural world of construction. But His deeper, spiritual meaning is also clear: building a house is a metaphor for building a life, a legacy. Only that life that is built on the firm, unshifting foundation of the Word of God — indeed, where the Word Himself, Jesus Christ, becomes the Solid Rock upon which your life is grounded — will survive the enemy’s onslaught in a fallen world and will inherit eternal life.
In Deuteronomy 32:31, Moses contrasted the false gods of the Hebrews’ enemies with the only true and unchanging God and declared “Their rock is not as our Rock.” What an understatement! Thousands of years later, the names of the gods of this world may have changed, but ours is just as immutable as ever! Indeed, our Rock is the same yesterday, today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8)
As we, the people of God, walk into 2016, we are given a fresh slate upon which to build our lives and His kingdom. But we are reminded of the words of 20th-century preacher/author Vance Havner (a Tar Heel native who died in Greensboro in the mid-1980s): “God does not furnish us with a detailed road map.”
That is so true. We don’t know what the year ahead holds, do we? But let’s see if we can glean a few insights from Jesus’ parable that will help us prepare for the journey ahead:
- We’re all going to hear the truth, but it’s our choice to respond in obedience. Christians in the Information Age of the 21st Century have incredible access to the Bible in a gazillion translations as well as more books, podcasts, conferences and online resources than we could ever use. Even if we confine our thinking to just the weekly preaching, teaching and discipleship ministry of Impact Church, we will definitely be served a smorgasbord of Truth! But remember the Master’s implied admonition: while everyone may hear, not everyone acts! If we make any resolutions, let’s resolve to apply God’s Truth to our lives and live by it!
- We’re all building something, but will it stand?We all have the same number of hours, days, weeks and months as we turn the page to 2016. When the ball drops at the close of the year, the question will be whether our time was well spent. Did we advance the Kingdom? Did we climb to new heights in our faith and in the knowledge of our Savior? Did we experience a new level of intimacy where we learned to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice without distraction? Was our love for the Lord evident for others to see? Did we share the Good News of Jesus Christ with someone who needed a fresh start and a secure hope? If we occupy our minds with the Father’s business, He will bless our obedience and make 2016 our most fruitful, productive year yet!
- Finally, we all will experience adversity and challenges, but how will we react to them?Jesus referred to the storms in three ways: “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house…” (Matthew 7:25,27). Without trying to sound like the prophetic voice of doom, here’s what will likely happen to every one of us or someone we know this year:
- > “Rain” will fall,…you know, the minor irritations that can ruin a perfectly good day if you let them. You miss a payment,…you hit a deer,…you catch a cold,…your computer crashes,…
- > “Floods” will rise,…not just an inconvenience, but an occurrence that will test your faith at a deeper level. You get a pink slip,…you find out your teenage daughter is pregnant or your son is on drugs,…a lifelong friend betrays you,…
- > “Winds” will blow,…these are the devastating tornadoes that will destroy any life not rooted and grounded in God. The report from your medical tests uses the “C” word and states further that it is incurable,…your spouse cheats on you and asks for a divorce,…your drug-addicted son suddenly takes his life,…your home burns to the ground and you lose everything you own,…
Sobering, isn’t it? Such is life in a fallen world. So, what are you going to do if and when such challenges unfold in the year ahead? We encourage you in Jesus’ name: Keep building on the Rock! Keep trusting in the Rock! He has never failed, and He won’t start now!
And the world is watching those of us who profess peace and joy to see if our house will stand or fall during the storm.