The Parable of the Two Builders
From time to time a great deal of damage is done throughout our country and throughout the world as a result of extensive rainfall. Flood waters, as well as mudslides, can cause death and destruction. A house can actually topple down a hillside. Such events, although tragic, can bring to our minds one of the parables of Jesus in which he discussed the toppling of a man’s house. This parable is recorded in Matthew 7:24-27 and is sometimes called “The Parable of the Two Builders.” Many have heard this parable from their youth. It has some very important principles in it, and we can surely profit by studying it.
The Two Builders
Jesus reveals that there were two men who constructed houses. He referred to one of the men as foolish and the other He called wise. This classification was based on the way they constructed their houses. One built his house upon the sand. He did not use much wisdom and foresight and was referred to as foolish. The other man did use foresight and wisdom and thus built his house upon rock. Luke’s account (6:46-49) says that he dug deep and laid the foundation upon rock. This man is referred to by Jesus as a wise man. Thus, two men: one was wise and one foolish; one built his house upon the rock, and the other built his house upon sand.
The Rain Came
Next, Jesus points out that the storm came. Verses 25 and 27 say, “the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew. . . .” All of this “beat upon” the two houses.
The house which was built upon the rock stood when the storm came. Verse 25 says, ” . . . it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” On the other hand, the house which was built upon the sand, did not stand. Verse 27 says, ” . . . it fell: and great was the fall of it.” It might be interesting to note some comments made by Albert Barnes concerning the susceptibility of the Palestine area to floods.
“Palestine was to a considerable extent a land of hills and mountains. Like other countries of that description, it was subject to sudden and violent rains. The Jordan, the principal stream, was annually swollen to a great extent, and became rapid and furious in its course. The streams which ran among the hills, whose channels might have been dry during some months of the year, became suddenly swollen with the rain, and would pour down impetuously into the plains below. Everything in the way of these torrents would be swept off. Even houses, erected within the reach of these sudden inundations, and especially if founded on sand or on any unsolid basis, would not stand before them. The rising, bursting stream would shake it to its foundation; the rapid torrent would gradually wash away its base; it would totter and fall.” (from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
It should be very easy for us to visualize and understand the calamity of this foolish man.
Jesus, in His application of this parable, said that the man who built his house upon rock (i.e., the wise man) would represent the one who hears and obey Him. The man who built his house upon the sand (i.e., the foolish man) would represent the one who hears His word but would refuse to obey Him. So this parable emphasizes the importance of being a doer and not simply a hearer of God’s Word. In Matthew 7:21, just before the parable, Jesus said, ” . . . not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
There are many other passages which emphasize the importance of obeying the will of God. One passage is James 1:22 which says, “But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” The next chapter in James stresses that our faith must be an obedient faith if is it pleasing to God. James 2:24 says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only.” Also, Hebrews 11 discusses individuals who were people of faith and were thus pleasing to God. It is clear from the text, however, that their faith was an obedient faith also. I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” Many say that they love God. It is evident that a good number really do not though, as they are just hearers only. In John 14:23, Jesus said, ” . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words . . . .”
It would obviously be very ridiculous for a person to build his house on a poor foundation. It would show a lack of foresight and wisdom. In like manner, it would also show a lack of foresight and wisdom for a person to be a hearer and not a doer of God’s Word. His “lack of action” would be unwise. We do need to take heed to Jesus’ lesson from the wise and foolish builder and obey the Lord.