Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building On Rock?

Biblegems #98
Question: We know and accept that Christ is our ROCK, and we are to be anchored to Him---our foundation built on a rock--not sand.  BUT, it puzzles me in the physical---with that being the example---how does one anchor a house to a solid rock foundation???  Or even "cling" to it?

This question is based upon the following passage:
Matt. 7:24-27  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The setting for this teaching was near the Sea of Galilee in the first year of Jesus’ ministry. During the dry summers the sandy soil surrounding the large lake would become hard-baked, offering a tempting but deceptive surface for building a home. With the onset of the winter rains the baked sand would quickly wash out from under the house, causing the structure to collapse.

Simple homes in Jesus’ day were typically constructed of either mud-brick reinforced with straw, or else flat fieldstone that was readily available. Such houses were usually a simple square, with the brick or stone layered in courses one story tall, and the flat roof made of stone slabs stretched across wooden beams. If the builder was foolish enough to erect the home on the hard summer sand, the first serious rainfall could prove catastrophic to himself and his family when the house collapsed.

In order to build a house on a secure foundation in the area around the lake the builder would have to dig down through the sand to a depth of about three feet. There he would encounter volcanic rock (basalt and igneous) that would give him the solid foundation his house would need for protection against heavy rains. He would then have to dig a trench in the rock using hand chisels. The trench would have to be deep enough and wide enough to inset the first course of fieldstone. This kind of foundation is found in archeological sites throughout Israel and the Middle East. 

So when Jesus used this real-life object lesson, He was likening the lifestyle of putting His teachings into practice as a secure foundation for building a life that can successfully weather the heavy storms people inevitably encounter. Even if the soil around the house is washed away—a picture of all that in our lives that adds beauty and joy—the house still stands. A life firmly grounded in Jesus requires the hard work of putting His teaching into practice, but it will stand strong no matter what difficulties come.

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