Have you ever thought you were standing on a solid foundation only to have it fall beneath you? I remember a time when I was a kid and my sister, one of our dear friends, and I were exploring the woods near her home. We came across a patch of green moss we all thought had overgrown, covering the solid earth beneath it. Together, the three of us stepped onto the moss and instantly sunk into a swamp. Needless to say we walked home that day wet, dirty, and dreading the unforeseen consequences. To this day, that experience is still etched in my mind. The mossy patch looked so solid but boy did it surprise us…
I think we’ve all experienced surprise and disappointment at times because of a “solid foundation” falling through. In fact, the world bombards us with daily messages trying to convince us of what foundations we should stand on. None of them however follow through on the promise of security and peace we’re so desperately after. In the midst of crisis, such as Covid-19, those foundations start to feel shaky and unsure. I think it is times like these where God graciously allows us to recognize some of the worldly foundations we’ve been standing on. We then have a choice, to repent and rebuild or to remain and wait.
This reminds me of a familiar parable. Maybe you can already guess. Let’s take a look at Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV) together:
“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.”
There is a lot here we could unpack, but I sense that there is very personal application here for us in the midst of this crisis. My ESV Study Bible shed some light on the situation into which Jesus spoke this parable that I find very helpful. The parable is actually bringing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which began in Matthew chapter 5, to a close. Jesus is calling his listeners to make a choice. Are they going to choose Jesus or the religious establishment of their day? He’s drawing a line between Him and any other foundation established by a group or culture. Thus identifying Himself as distinct, set a part from all others. To quote the ESV Study Commentary, “Disciples who build their lives on the bedrock of Jesus and His message of the kingdom of heaven are truly wise, regardless of the shifting cultural or religious fashions [governments]” (Matt. 7:24-27 pg. 1834). Webster’s Dictionary defines bedrock as, “1: the solid rock underlying unconsolidated surface materials (such as soil) 2a : lowest point b : basis (“the bottom of something considered as its foundation”).
During the time in which Jesus spoke this parable, His listeners likely knew that within the summer months, the sand that was near the Sea of Galilee was hard because of the sun and heat. A wise builder however would know that when the seasons changed, that hard surface would become soft and once the rains or floods hit, the structure built upon that rock would fall. The wise builder would therefore dig several feet below the hard summer surface until he hit the bedrock. Once the bedrock was exposed, the foundation could then be built. Only there would it remain sturdy against the destructive rains and floods - no matter the season.
I wonder how often we build on the hard surface, without doing the work to dig deeper until we’ve reached the bedrock. Have there been times throughout these trying few months where you’ve realized that your foundations are shaking? Has it begun to feel like your faith was more dependent on Sunday morning sermons from the pulpit and good or at least “controllable” circumstances going on in your life? Or maybe you’re wondering if your faith was built upon what fellow believers in your fellowship or Bible studies may have shared, or what you see Christians post on social media platforms. Are you suddenly in an inner panic as talk about an economic crash intensifies and the push to reopen escalates with each passing day? Perhaps you weren’t too worried a month ago but as the economy continues to sink your fear quickens.
To any of us who can relate or are thinking of other fears and distresses we’re struggling through, it’s time to start digging deeper. It’s time to dig deeper into the Scriptures for your own study, knowledge, and application from the Holy Spirit. Time to press deeper into prayer, not only beseeching the Lord on behalf of our families, communities, country, and world, but also repenting of the shaky foundations we have been standing on that are not Christ. It’s time to own our own faith and partner with the Holy Spirit to know more deeply who it is that we stand upon. Jesus has laid the foundation for us, friends. Let us not be the foolish man who settled for the hard surface that seemed firm but when the trials and the storms of life came his house fell, “and great was the fall of it.” Let us be like the wise man who built his foundation upon the bedrock…Jesus.
"So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic" (Isaiah 28:16 NIV).
Today’s Bible Reading: Matthew 7:24-27; Is. 28:16; 2 Timothy 2:15
ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway, 2008.
By Nancy Martin