As a child, I remember hearing the saying “Don’t build your house upon the sand.” The saying is from the book of Matthew in the Bible. The verse tells you to build your house and faith on a strong foundation, such as a rock. Yet, as a child I was one who lived on an island, I thought a house on the beach would be super great. I did not understand why God would want us to have to live anywhere else. A house on the beach would make it so much easier to go swimming every day.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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.” Matthew 7:24-27Matthew 7:24-27
Alas, we all grow up and start to understand that the foundation of our lives must be built upon strong principles and practices or it all comes tumbling down when the storms of life batter us. As an alcoholic, I built my life upon promises that could not be kept. Not because I did not want to keep them, but because I could not keep them. It was impossible for me as my house was built upon the sands of addiction, ever-shifting and very stormy.
“Before A.A. I judged myself by my intentions, while the world was judging me by my actions.”Fourth Edition Big Book Pgs 417-418
In ancient times, the Ark of the Covenant was housed in the tents of the various tribes. Each tribe would have a turn protecting the Ark. King David wanted to build a “House of Cedar” for the Ark. Cedar was expensive back then and it is safe to say that David’s palace was quite grand. David thought that he lived in a great palace so should God. The Lord however had other ideas. He told David (through Nathan) that he did not want David to build the Temple and that he had not asked for one.
But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You shall not build Me a house to dwell in. For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought up Israel, even to this day, but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. Wherever I have moved about with all Israel, have I ever spoken a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?”’”1 Chronicles 4-6 NIV
David’s intentions were good. He truly meant to glorify the Lord in the grandest ways possible. But his intentions were built upon the sand. He had not asked what the Lord’s will was and assumed it would be good because it would exalt God. It turns out that the Lord did not want David to build the temple as David had blood on his hands from his years of war.
But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight…a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest…He shall build a house for My name.1 Chronicles 22:8-10
Although being in a position to do more for the Lord than asked to is a great place to be. Most of us spend time wondering what can we get away with and still please the Lord. However, if we are not listening and praying for the will of the Lord, it is our will that is in control. We build our temples upon sand and not solid rock. Our intentions may be solid but our actions tell another story. When I was drinking I wanted to do good things, but my hands were bloodied from the many wars that I started.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 ESVJames 1:22-25 ESV