Matt 7:24-29 Doers and not Hearers Only CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In this passage, Jesus compares wise men to fools. Wise men hear his words and do them. They are like a man who builds his house on a rock. The wise man’s house can withstand a violent storm because it is built on a solid foundation. Fools, on the other hand, hear his words and don’t do them. They are like a man who builds his house on sand. The fool’s house collapses in a violent storm because it is built on an unstable foundation.
In the context of preaching on the kingdom of heaven, these verses are directed to the Jews. They are the house of Israel (Ex 16:31; 40:38). In order for their house to stand, they have to be founded on a rock. In the Old Testament, when God called them out of Egypt, he gave them his words and told them to do them (Deut 6:24-25). He was, therefore, the Rock of their salvation (Deut 32:15, 18, 30-31). As long as they did his words, they were protected from their enemies (Lev 26:3-9).
However, when they forsook his words and chose not to do them, they were no longer founded on their Rock. Hence, their enemies came upon them like a flood (like Is. 8:7-8). In Is. 17:12-13, we see the nations attacking like the rushing of many waters. And there is a whirlwind howling at the same time (Amos 1:14). That’s God as their enemy. These are like the winds and floods that Jesus was talking about in Matt 7.
The Jews had already seen the fall of their house (the temple) when Nebuchadnezzar attacked them between 606 BC and 586 BC. Jeremiah prophesied that their destruction would come by a whirlwind (Jer 23:19). And the reason their house fell is that they refused to hearken unto the words of God and do them (Jer 7:27-28; 8:9), just like Jesus said in this passage. They were fools (Jer 5:3-4).
Having already seen the destruction of their temple once, you would have thought that these Jews would have made the connection. The Rock upon which they needed to be built was the man talking to them (Matt 16:16-18; 1 Cor 10:4; Dan 2:44-45). He was giving them God’s words (Jn 12:49-50) just like his Father had done to their fathers back in the days of Moses. But they refused to obey his words (Jn 8:37-38). They rejected their Rock (Matt 21:42-45). Consequently, God sent Titus in 70 AD, like floods and winds, and he destroyed their temple again (Matt 24:1-2).
Eventually, a remnant of the house of Israel will turn to their Rock (Is 51:1-3) and Israel will be saved (Rom 11:25-26). This will be at the Second Advent.
In a spiritual sense, those of us who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour are founded upon the Rock (1 Cor 3:11). No storm or wind can destroy our house. But those who have refused the Lord Jesus Christ, don’t have the Rock and they will be destroyed (1 Pet 2:7-8).
The distinguishing characteristic of Jesus’ teaching was authority (v. 29). That’s because there was no doubt in his mind that the words he taught them were the words of God (Jn 7:15-16).