It was on a Tuesday afternoon, the 19th of September 2017, when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Central Mexico causing catastrophic damage in the Mexican states of Puebla, Morelos and the Great Mexico City area. The quake, estimated to have lasted about 20 seconds of strong shaking, led to the collapse of more than 40 buildings, 370 deaths and over 6000 injuries. As seismologists and structural engineers reflected and inquired on why some buildings were able to survive the earthquake while others crumbled and collapsed during the shakings, they discovered some interesting facts. Part of the answer lay with the construction; buildings that had insufficient steel reinforcement became brittle during the quake, allowing concrete to burst out of the columns before collapsing. In addition, Mexico City, which suffered the highest casualties, is noted to have been built on a dry lakebed with soft soils. Experts say soft soils slow the speed of shockwaves thus increasing their amplitude which results in more violent shaking and thus extensive destruction.
In the book of Luke, Jesus gave a fascinating story of two men who built their houses on different types of grounds. He says “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49. In Matthew’s version of the same story he contrasts the man who built on the rock with one who built his house on sandy soil.
“A mere superficial knowledge of Scripture will not be enough, God’s Word needs to permeate and transform our lives.”
In this parable Jesus hints on the importance of having a solid foundation in our spiritual walk and the foolishness of not having one. He also shows us what that foundation is.
One dictionary defines a foundation as ‘the basis and the groundwork for anything’ and its importance cannot be over-emphasized. A building will not stand without a foundation. Families need foundations. A country needs a Constitution as a foundation for its existence. The wise builder in the gospel account is the person who heard God’s Word and based his life and decisions on the Scriptures. The Bible says “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14) and upon Him we are to build our lives, and this we do when we hear and do what He says in the Bible. Another important detail that comes from Luke’s account is that he the man “dug deep” into the rock. This means that we need to search and be rooted deeply into the Word of God. A mere superficial knowledge of Scripture will not be enough, God’s Word needs to permeate and transform our lives. A common saying says “if you want to build high, you must first dig deep”, and this is true in our spiritual lives.
The unwise man on the other hand, for some unknown reason, chose to build his house on sand. When the wind and storm came and beat against the house, having a weak foundation, it could not withstand and it had a great collapse. Christ says this represents a man who heard His words but did nothing. This is a person who hears God’s Word but does not consider it worthy of attention but simply ignores it and goes his/her way. So many people are doing this in our time, either by accepting teachings that are not based on the Bible or by simply not ordering their lives according to the Word of God. Moreover, some have not heard what the God’s Word says and it is our work to show them the light that they can also build on a solid foundation.
The Coming Storm
The Bible tells of a time of severe trial that God’s people will face just before the end of the world (Matthew 24:21) and we are on the edge of that time. At this time the very pillars of Bible faith will be assailed by winds and storms of error. At the same time all earthly support (economic, financial, social…) will be withdrawn from God’s remnant people and for them to sail through this episode they need to be firmly built on God’s Word, the true foundation. The apostle Paul says “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,…in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19- 22. Referring to Himself, Jesus says “on this Rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).Today, while it is still day let us build on Christ, the Solid Rock, and we shall be sure to stand when the storm shall come.