24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
With Christmas coming up, I am reminded of how many times I rush forward in putting a toy together. How many times do I tear open a package for one of my children and blindly try to assemble all the parts. It isn't very often that I can get it all together without going back to consult the directions. So why don't I consult the directions first? Fortunately, with a toy or a game, the consequences of not consulting the directions are minimal. Eventually it will get put together correctly, and the kids will have a blast with it.
The consequences though of ignoring God's directions are far more serious. A fool lives life with no regard or fear of God. They forge ahead doing whatever they feel like doing, however they feel like doing it. But the wise person listens carefully to God, obeys his word, and then experiences the benefit of following God's direction. Proverbs 1:7 says "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." I certainly don't want to be the fool. There are serious consequences for ignoring God's word and his instructions. Check this out in Proverbs 23-27:
23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.
24 But since you rejected me when I called
and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,
25 since you ignored all my advice
and would not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you-
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
That says right in verse 26 that God will laugh at our disaster! Wow! There is a reward though for diligence. God gives wisdom to those who desire to follow his word. He will also give knowledge and understanding, and he will act as a protector in times of need. That's wonderful to think of. While a child always wants to do the will of their parents, a reward sort of sweetens the deal. It rewards the positive behavior and reinforces it, making it even stronger. In the same way, God's rewards for faithfulness are reinforcing to us and our walk with him. That is so encouraging, that the more I seek his will and follow his word, the more likely I am to be like the wise man who built his house on the rock.
I will end with some more encouragement from Proverbs. Chapter 2, verses 1-11 offers encouragement to those who are willing to follow God's direction.
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds victory in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.