Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: A Storm Is Coming
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Proverbs 1:20-33 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:33).
An adaptation from “Joan ’n’ the Whale” by John Duckworth:
Once upon a time there was a wise man who built his house upon a rock. And it was a nice house too. Three bedrooms, granite counter tops in the kitchen, wood floors, and those gutters that don’t let the leaves in. One day, as the wise man was washing the outside of his windows, he heard a bunch of noise down the hill on the beach.
When he looked to see what was happening, he was shocked to see a man building a house on the beach. The house was literally being built on the sand.
The wise man couldn’t believe it. He shook his head and recited, “The wise man builds his house upon the rock. The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. When the rains come, the foolish man’s house will go splat! But the wise man’s house will stand firm.”
Each day the wise man watched from his back porch as the foolish man finished up his home. The wise man noticed that the foolish man had actually built a very nice place, highlighted by a fenced backyard with a pool, BBQ, a dance floor and a hot tub.
Again, he shook his head and recited, “The wise man builds his house upon the rock. The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. When the rains come, the foolish man’s house will go splat! But the wise man’s house will stand firm.”
One night, the wise man woke up with a start. At first he thought it was the coming storm. Finally, the rains had come! But when he looked out his window, there was a clear starry night. The noise was actually coming from the house on the sand. The man looked and saw a party going on. Lots of people having lots of fun. He even saw beautiful woman getting out of a hot sports car, escorted into the party by his neighbor.
This infuriated the wise man very much. He yelled, “The wise man builds his house upon the rock. The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. When the rains come, the foolish man’s house will go splat! But the wise man’s house will stand firm!”
The rains finally did come. But somehow the rain only fell on the wise man’s house. The foolish man’s house didn’t get a drop. Day after day the rains soaked the house of the wise man. And day after day, the sun seemed to shine on the foolish man’s house. This greatly upset the wise man who screamed, “The wise man builds his house upon the rock. The foolish man builds his house upon the sand. When the rains come, the foolish man’s house will go splat! But the wise man’s house will stand firm.”
Day after day it rained on the wise man’s house. And day after day the foolish man had parties with people in the swimming pool, drinks with little umbrellas and an occasional karaoke competition.
One day, the wise man had enough. He stomped out of his house and took the trail down to the beach to enjoy the sun. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he said.
Of course, that night the rains did come. The storm was horrific. And the house on the sand went splat! But the house on the rock stood firm. Too bad nobody was home.
Recalibrate: What are three things that you would say are solid foundations for a life well lived?
Respond: Pray these words: “Lord, build my life on a strong foundation so that when storms come, I can stand.”
Research: Read the last part of Matthew 7, where Jesus talks about the house built on the rock.
Remember: “Whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:33, NIV).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Draw a love heart on the ground with a piece of chalk and jump in the middle of it with your child. Find all the things your child loves and pull them into or around the heart. This week we sang Jesus Loves Me with Listener Kids. With your child, talk about how Jesus loves me and you and everyone else too. Jesus loves the people who really annoy us and He asks us to love them too. This kind of love is the rhythm of life God calls us to follow. Over and over and over again He asks us to love.
Have you ever sung these song lyrics: “The wise man built his house upon the rock?” (Warning, this song might get stuck in your head now!) What did the foolish man build his house upon? The sand! That’s right! But can sand keep a house in place when there’s water and wind? No way! Go outside today and find a really big rock and some sand or maybe just some very small rocks. What are some of the differences they have? When the wise man built his house he chose one very strong thing, the rock. The foolish man built his house on a bunch of small broken-up pieces of rock, sand. The rock is like Jesus, strong and mighty. The sand is like a bunch of different ideas and thoughts. Some might be good, some might be not so good, but at the end of the day, they can easily be washed away. What do you want to build on? We want to build on Jesus every day! Find a big rock and put it somewhere you can see every day to remind you to build on our rock, Jesus!
It is truly tough to make good decisions all the time! While I would like to believe I am a good person, I know I am still making bad decisions (almost) every day. When faced with the choice to do the right thing versus doing the wrong thing, every time I choose to make a bad decision, it’s for all of the same reason. Take this past week for example: I am trying to make it a goal to go to the gym five times a week to lose weight and get in better shape. But this past week, I went once. Not even close!
The reason why I didn’t go the other times?
I didn’t feel like it.
In Proverbs 1:33, Wisdom tells us that whoever listens to her, “will dwell securely and will be at ease without the dread of disaster.” Had I been more wise, I would have gone to the gym last week. Because ultimately I would be stronger, sleep better, and feel better in ways that would last longer. Without those gym visits that I decided would be too hard or too stressful, I am feeling weaker and less healthy. In the long run, I want to feel better, faster, and stronger—not weaker and more useless. And apparently, Wisdom wants that for me too!
What are some decisions you have made that seemed less wise than others? Why did you choose to make the bad decision when you could have made a good one? How will you take Wisdom’s promise into consideration the next time you’re faced with a choice between wise and less wise?
“But whoever listens to me will live securely and be undisturbed by the dread of danger” (Proverbs 1:33). For most everything there is a cause and effect. If I chose to eat healthy and exercise daily, I will become leaner. If I chose to watch Netflix instead of studying for an upcoming test, I will not do too well on the test. Or if I choose to go to bed at an earlier time instead of staying up late grabbing food with friends, I will be less tired during the day. You get the picture? As much as I might like to push against the boundaries, there is always going to be a consequence for every action. Proverbs 1:33 promises that if we choose to listen to the voice of Wisdom, we will live a more quality life. It’s as simple as that! At the end of the day, your quality of life is in your hands. You have more power than you think! As the weekend approaches, find some ways you can implement making wise decisions in your life. What are some boundaries you need to erect so you can live a more fulfilling life?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Emily Ellis is a senior studying theology at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.