Great was the fall of it

By Robert C. Oliver - Contributing columnist

Just a couple of years ago we presented an article with much the same title. Of course, the title and the thoughts for that article and this as well as the parable that Jesus used in teaching about how one could obtain eternal life. He had pointed out that it took obedience to God to be saved (Matt. 7:21). He then gave an illustration by way of how some would react in the day of judgment and the result of that (Matt. 7:22-23). He then uses a parable concerning two men, a wise one and a foolish one. The wise one built his house upon a rock and when the wind, rain, and floods came, it stood firm because it was on a solid foundation (Matt. 7:24-25). The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. When those same elements crashed against this house, it fell and Jesus said “great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:26-27). Little children all over our land can sing the little song about the wise man building his house upon the rock. Of course, the parable compared to building a house to being saved. Foolish is he who tries to obtain salvation without both hearing and obeying the word of God. However, there are many other specific applications that we can make from this little parable. We would like to give attention to a few examples of some who knew what God required of them, but then for one reason or another choose to do as the foolish man and “build his house” on the sand. And, one thing that we will have to admit, every time someone tries to go his or her own way, contrary to the way God has commanded, his house will fall and in every case, “great is the fall of it”.

Not unusual for me, the first I always think of is Adam and Eve. We can’t think back any further for they are the first two humans to live. In just the second chapter of the word of God, we find God giving Adam a command. God tells Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17). There is no way that man could claim ignorance, Adam knew what God had said about eating of that particular fruit. One can blame the serpent, blame Eve or even blame the fruit, for it did look good, but the fact remains that Adam and Even built their figurative house on sand, and none need to be told the result of that, we all know it. It fell and great was the fall of it.

After the Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant and then discovered they could not stand to have it in their possession, they sent it back to Israel. The first stop for it was Bethshemesh and from there to the house of Abinadab in Kirjathjearim (I Sam. 6:12-7:1). When David determined to bring it back home to Jerusalem, a great crowd was involved. Concerning the transport of the ark and other items of the tabernacle, God had said, “the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die” (Num. 4:15). Some had already violated that and a great number had died, which event Abinadab certainly knew (I Sam. 6:19). But, David had it placed on a new cart and Uzzah, one of the sons of Abinadab was driving the cart. The cart was rocked when it came to a threshing floor and Uzzah “…put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it” (II Sam. 6:6). Uzzah, no doubt had good intentions. Yet, he knew the command of God concerning the ark and he violated those commands by touching it anyway. So how did that turn out? “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God smote him there for his error, and there he died by the ark of God” (II Sam. 6:7). He “builds his house upon the sand” and great was the fall of it.

The account of the young prophet and the old prophet as recorded in First Kings chapter 13 is another great example of building on sand, providing us with more insight into that fallacy. God’s kingdom was divided and Rehoboam, the son of Solomon was king over Judah. Jeroboam had been made a king over the northern kingdom of Israel. Fearful that the people would go to Jerusalem to worship as God had commanded, he set altars in Dan and Bethel and offered something other than what God had commanded. God had sent a young prophet to prophecy against the altar at Bethel. He was told to not stay and eat or drink, but to leave a different way from the way he went. After the prophet spoke, Jeroboam tried to talk him into coming home with him, but he, knowing and even stating what God’s commands to him had been, refused. Yet, an old prophet who lived there went to him as he was leaving and told him that he too was a prophet and that God had told him to go get the young prophet and bring him home for food and drink. But the text says, “but he lied unto him” (I Kings 13:18). The young prophet believed him, followed him and was killed shortly thereafter because of his disobedience (I Kings 13:23-24). He knew what God had said, yet he believed someone who said that God had told them something different. The result was that “his house fell, and great was the fall of it”. Hear, believe and obey if you want your house to stand.

By Robert C. Oliver

Contributing columnist

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]