Some people don't obey God's commands because they don't understand them. "They don't make sense to me," they may say.
"God can't blame me for not obeying things I don't understand, can he?" they may ask.
"I'll just follow those parts of the Bible that I agree with," they may decide. But that kind of thinking and acting can be dangerous, as the following true story may illustrate:
There once was a group of five sailors in the British navy who were aboard a small boat. Their boat was towing a much larger ship through rough, choppy waters with a thick wire cable (called a hawser).
Suddenly, through the sound of the howling winds and crashing waves, the five sailors on deck heard their officer shout a single, one-word command: "Down!"
Immediately, those five men flung themselves to the deck of their vessel, a split second before that wire tow cable cracked over their heads and past their ears like a deadly whip. Their commanding officer had seen the cable snap and had issued his order just in time, allowing the five sailors to escape the recoil from the broken hawser. Any man who had been in the path of that cable would have been killed instantly.
Those five sailors survived because they obeyed without hesitating. If they had stopped to wonder why he gave that order, they would have been killed. If they had paused to argue the wisdom of the order, they would have been killed. If they had hesitated to decide whether or not the order made sense to them, they would have been killed. Their immediate obedience saved them from disaster.
Jesus said, "Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock" (Matthew 7:24). We may not understand all of God's commands. We may not know exactly how his commands will protect us. But if we listen and obey, we will be wise.
REFLECT: The house Jesus describes in today's Bible reading probably wasn't a house built beside an ocean or lake but a house built in one of the sandy wadis (or dry riverbeds) that were common where Jesus lived. Any house built on the soft ground of such a flat place would be fine during the dry part of the year but would probably be washed away when the rainy season came and the dry bed became a raging river! Are you more like someone who hears the teachings of Jesus and ignores them or like someone who listens and obeys what he said? How does Jesus say (in today's Bible reading) you can build a firm and lasting foundation that will keep you strong when the "storms" of life hit?
PRAY: "Lord, I want to be a person who listens to your teachings and obeys them. Help me to grow stronger by reading your Word and praying every day."