The House on the Sand

Have you built your spiritual life on sand? It’s one thing to know about Yeshua and believe in him; it’s another thing to heed his words and obey them.

A house built on sand (Image © Bigstock)

Yeshua told His disciples, “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:47-48). He compared the disciple who heard His words but did not do them to a foolish man who built his house on sand.

Have we disregarded the words of the Master, particularly these hard words of the Sermon on the Mount? Have we placed our concerns with doctrinal suppositions and having the right set of beliefs rather than in the radical obedience and discipleship to which the Master calls us? In so doing, we imperil ourselves like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The Master asked us, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

The message of Yeshua was not one of refined theology or hair-splitting over doctrine. He invited his disciples to enter the kingdom through a genuine call to repentance characterized by good works, obedience to Torah, and the training of discipleship. He called His disciples to practice a standard of righteousness that surpassed that of the scribes and Pharisees, a standard without which one cannot enter the kingdom. The whole of the Sermon on the Mount functions as a fleshing out of the central message of the Gospel, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is here.”

A parable similar to the wise and foolish builders appears among the sayings of the sages:

Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah used to say: He whose learning is greater than his good deeds, to what can he be compared? He is like a tree with many branches but few roots. The wind blows and uproots the tree and uproots it… But he whose good deeds are greater than his learning, to what can he be compared? He is compared to a tree with only a few branches but with many roots. Even if all the wind in the world was blowing against it, it could not be uprooted. (m.Avot 3:22)

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