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The Rock and the Sand

Matthew 7:12-29; Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 147-152


The Message

I am joyful when I build my life on Jesus.

Memory Verse

“My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).

Have you ever built a sand castle on the beach? Even though you build it high and you pat the sand until it is firm, what happens when the foamy waves wash around it? A long time ago Jesus told a story about that.


One day Jesus sat on the side of a hill, talking to hundreds of people seated on the grass in front of Him. Jesus knew about storms and floods. So did the people seated around Him. Many of them had lived near the Sea of Galilee all of their lives. When they were children, they probably played at the water’s edge.

Jesus loved the people so much. He wanted them to understand about God. He wanted them to understand how to be joyful. Maybe a story about building at the water’s edge would help them understand. And so Jesus told this story.

“Once a man decided to build a house. He chose a high, rocky ledge on which to build it. Water wouldn’t flood his house. His house would be safe and the foundation strong.

“The man worked hard carrying the building materials all the way up onto the rock. After the house was finished, the rains came down. The wind blew and blew. The streams grew bigger and bigger, overflowing their banks. Now there was flooding to worry about. But the house was safe. The man had built it on a strong, firm foundation of solid rock.”

That makes sense, doesn’t it? The people thought so. They may have nodded their heads in agreement. And Jesus told them, “If you listen to God and live for Me, you are building your house on the Rock.”

And all the people may have nodded in agreement again, because building on rock made sense.

Then Jesus continued. His story was not done.

“Another man built himself a house. This man chose to build his house on the sand at the water’s edge. He probably built a strong house too. And he probably worked very hard at it.

“After the house was finished, the rains came and pounded it. The wind blew and blew. The streams rose higher and higher and overflowed their banks. Soon they flooded the house. The waves beat and beat against the house, washing away the sand underneath it. And the house fell in with a mighty crash because there was no deep, firm foundation supporting the walls.”

What a foolish man! the people may have thought. He should have known better. And so he should have. But listen to what Jesus said next.

“When people listen to My words but do not do anything about them, they are as foolish as that man. They cannot expect to be joyful and strong. The wise person not only listens, but is willing to do what I say.”

The people opened their eyes in amaze-ment as they listened to Jesus. His teaching was very different from the teachers of the law they usually heard. Some of the people may even have remembered what David said in Psalm 18:2: “My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”

I wonder how many people who heard Jesus that day were willing to build their lives on Jesus. How many wanted to study and live by God’s Word? How about you?