“You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’
- 1 Kings 5:3-5
At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.
- 1 Kings 5:17-18
“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. The 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. But 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
- Matthew 7:24-28
“Since she started middle school, Nathan’s daughter, Hannah, has been bringing home more complex math homework. Remember Word problems—taking abstract math concepts and applying them to real-world situations? ‘A train leaves city A at 11:00 at 17 miles per hour, while a bus leaves city B at …’ When Hannah sets up the word problem correctly, she is one step closer to the answer. But if she rushes through the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division integral to the solution, the answer will still be wrong. The foundational math skills she learned in elementary school are principles she is now building on and are crucial to her success.
“Solid foundations are critical in all aspects of life, whether it is constructing a building, learning the fundamentals in a sport, or mastering another new skill. Did you notice that Solomon used ‘high-quality stone’ for the foundation of the Temple? That high-quality stone would not be noticed by the people who came to worship, but it was critically important for the integrity of the building. It was also important to Solomon because he felt he was doing something necessary to honor the name of the Lord.
“The same is true for you. You can strive to be the best role model possible by volunteering at the soup kitchen or participating in charitable events, but your real inﬂuence comes from the foundation of your character. People will see how you handle things when problems tackle you and notice the difference.
“UNCOMMON KEY > The fundamental things you’ve been told since you were young—to tell the truth, act courageously, stand ﬁrm for things that matter—form the foundation of any future influence that you may have, like it or not. Keep honing those traits so they become ‘high-quality stone.’ ”
- Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life (Devotion for 8 September)
Once upon a time, I had a tool shed in my back yard. It was basically a cover over the weed-whacker and lawn mower. The family went on vacation and when I returned, the shed was gone. My next-door neighbor, at the time, saw me drive up and he pointed across the street. A strong wind had lifted the shed over the house and deposited it in some trees on the other side of the street. Luckily, they had not developed that side of the street. I had not sufficiently anchored the flimsy metal shed to the foundation and the shed became a kite – briefly. Oddly, the lawn mower and weed-whacker were right where I left them.
But as for the word problems in math, I used to love them. I can see the question for the math problem example in the devotion above. “Where does the train crash into the bus?” NO?! Not the right question? Oh, how textbooks have changed…
But no, when we had lessons in Army construction, we spent as much time working on the foundation than we did everything else put together. The foundation cannot be overlooked. We have a neighbor who built his house over ten years ago. He has not moved in because the foundation cracked as the house was erected over it. The building inspectors will not let him move in, nor can he sell it. It has been a financial disaster for him.
But our foundation as a Christian cannot be ignored either. I do not know about your church, but about 1-2% of the adult membership attends Sunday school. Does that mean that the other 98-99% knows everything and they do not need further instruction?
My systematic Bible reading has suffered of late. I have maintained my post-writing pace, and that requires a lot of research at times, but the basic concept of reading something that I have read 20-30-40 times already, just to try to find something new in what it means… That is haphazard. I need that discipline to return.
But of those 98-99% of the adults who do not come to Sunday school, do any read the Bible every day? Once a week? The Christmas story on Christmas Eve?
Without a good foundation, what you build on whatever foundation you have will be lost.
Storms are brewing and the waves are already getting higher.
There is still time to work on that foundation.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.