Welcome to week two of our Embrace the Word study of “The Word W.O.R.K.S.”
Week two has been all about obedience to God’s Word. This week’s passages challenged us to grow in God and in obedience to His Word. I know that as you dive into the treasure of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit illuminates and deposits things in your heart. Consider sharing with our community here, on FB or IG.
I lived in Japan for a while during our military travels. I’m an East Coast girl, so I’ll never forget the unnerving feeling of the whole building moving during an earthquake! Japan has thousands of small earthquakes each year, and several are classified as major. While in Japan, we lived in a high-rise tower. This tower, and ALL the high-rise buildings in Japan, are built to withstand earthquakes. Earthquakes are so common in Japan that the buildings must be made that way.
Earthquakes are unpredictable and, in Japan, inevitable. They will happen. Architects and builders know that how they build a building can save lives and prevent much damage.
In life, how you build is imperative. Storms will come, but how you build can determine whether you stand or fall. Obedience is how we should build a life that can withstand adversity.
Jesus’ ended one of His most famous sermons, the Sermon on the Mount, with these words,
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
I’m a Sunday School kid who grew up singing about these figurative men–one wise, one foolish. I never stopped to think, “Why would someone build a house on sand?” The answer was obvious, he was foolish!
That is the answer, but what was this man’s folly? His folly is disobedience!
A Tale of Two Houses and Two Men
Both men in Jesus’ illustration are similar. They both build a house. Nothing in the text suggests that one was a superior constructor or architect. Nothing indicates that one used more quality materials. Both men built a house.
Both men experienced a storm. Verses 25 and 27 read exactly the same: “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house.” Nothing says that one storm was worse than the other.
The only difference between the houses is the location. One was built on a rock. The rock provided a firm foundation for the house. It would not be easily destroyed. The other house was built on sand, an unstable foundation. Unsteady, unbalanced, insecure, unreliable.
The real difference is seen in the men. Both hear the Word of God (contextually, Jesus’ teachings). The wise man is like one who hears the Word AND does it. He obeys what he hears. He practically applies the teachings of Jesus in his life. Because of this, when the storms come, he can stand steady and sure.
The foolish man is also like one who hears the Word but, in this case, does not do them. He continues to walk in disobedience, thinking his own way is best. When the storm comes, this man will endure a great fall because he has not made God’s truth his lifeline. He has trusted himself more than he trusted Jesus. When you walk in disobedience to the Word you hear, you put more confidence in your intellect, acumen, and ability than in the one who knows you best! That really is foolish because we deceive ourselves (see James 1:22-25).
Jesus is the Word! We can stand firmly on The Rock.
Storms Will Come!
Just like the inevitable earthquakes in Japan, storms will come. Far too many believers think they are doing something wrong when a storm comes into their life. That is not always the case. Just as Jesus suffered, so must we. As Jesus illustrated, rain will pour in your life. Sometimes like a light drizzle, other times like a torrential downpour. Some storms only affect your life, like a temporary illness or prolonged unemployment.
Sometimes, rain waters will abate, and other times flood waters will rise. Some storms come that alter your life. It could be a more serious illness or a heartbreaking divorce.
At times, for some, the winds blow and slam against the frame of your house. These winds attempt to destroy your house. The unexpected death of a loved one or the news of a terminal illness can truly rock you to your core.
But when your house is built on a rock. The storm may affect, alter, and attempt to destroy your house, but you WILL stand.
Those same storm conditions can destroy the lives of those who do not obey God’s Word.
Obedience! It’s How We Build
Remember, both builders heard the Word. There are challenges to radical obedience. Forgiving those who hurt you, praying for your enemies, and turning the other cheek, can make even some professed believers shake their heads. But just as the Sermon on the Mount radical challenges all those who heard it, God’s Word requires our radical obedience. It’s how we build lives that stand when the storms come.
If you will withstand life’s storms, you must obey the Word of God. Nothing else can replace obedience. Your church attendance will not do it. Your faithful service will not do it. Your good works and benevolence will not get the job done. Obedience to the Word of God is the only way to build your house on The Rock! Hear His Word, and obey.
You are Building a House
Each of us is building a house–a spiritual house, a dwelling place for God Himself. We are His temple and must serve as obedient priests (see 1 Peter 2:4-5). We must be good builders! Paul likened himself to a master builder, only by the grace of God, who builds on the only sure foundation, Jesus.
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 3:11
So before you build, be certain that your foundation is Jesus, the Word of God. He is the only sure foundation. And, remember, obedience to the Word is how you build.
Ponder these questions/prompts in your heart. Work through them with the Holy Spirit. Comment here (or by email), and we can talk about it, too.
- Do you find radical obedience challenging? (Specifically, how so?)
- Are you in a storm? Has it affected you? Altered you? Attempted to destroy you?
- What practical steps can you take to obey God today?
Thank You for being a firm foundation on which I can stand. When the storms come, may I run to You and find stability. Thank You for Your Word that teaches and instructs me in righteousness. By the power of Your Spirit, help me to obey.
In Jesus’ name,
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
As I always say, the Word WORKS! We are walking in WHOLENESS, OBEDIENCE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, and KINGDOM SUCCESS through the Word of God!
Your friend in the journey,