12. And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation;that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you,it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.As I pondered this scripture several thoughts came to me.
There is an important principle that we must understand. The storms will come. The scripture assures us that both those who are wicked and those who are righteous are subject to the storm. We know that God’s people must be tried in all things (D&C 136:31). We won’t escape it.
With that understanding, look at the two parts of this scripture. One is our preparation and the second is our reaction.
First, what are we building on? It says that ye MUST build. This is both a command and an imperative. We must build upon something. It is either the rock or the sand. Ask yourself, am I a rock person or a sand person?
The second part of this scripture has to do with our reaction to the the storms. If we are built upon the rock then the devil will have “no power” over us. Also, we are promised that we “cannot fall”. By building upon the rock of Christ we are given the power to resist Satan.
There is one more very subtle nuance in this scripture that I noticed. Think about the condition of the hearts of those who build. As we build on the the proper foundation, we are turning our hearts to God. What does he do with it? He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). We experience that mighty change of heart (Alma 5:14). So, if we have a sure foundation built upon the rock of Christ, then our hearts are turned to him. They are new, changed, and soft. But what about those that build upon the sand? What happens to their heart? Without a sure foundation, then you are left to fight the storms alone. Without the protection of a firm foundation you turn more and more inward as you seek safety from the storms. This act of turning inward rather than turning to Christ causes a hardness to form on your heart as a protection. Over time, tour heart becomes “as firm as a stone” (Job 41:24). With a hard heart we don’t look to God as we ought to (1 Nephi 15:3), and the downward spiral to ward spiritual destruction continues. Hence, a foundation built upon Christ yields a soft heart. But, a house built upon a sandy foundation or worse, no foundation; referencing the great and spacious building (1Nephi 8:26), results in a heart that is hard and impenitent.
Here are some additional cross references for consideration:
1 Corinthians 10:4 - Christ is the spiritual rock
Matthew 16:18 - Upon this rock I will build my church
D&C 50:44 - He that builds on the rock of the stone of Israel, the good shepherd, shall never fall.
Matthew 7:24-27 - A wise man builds his house upon a rock.