Ropes Of Shifting Sand

Man trying to control movement of the sand to protect the beach.

Have you ever walked barefoot in the sand at the beach? The sand can be warm and soothing or cold and hard to your feet. I find squishing my toes in the warm sand very relaxing and therapeutic.

Sand is an amazing creation by our amazing Creator! Just think about it, millions and millions of grains of sand cover the earth. I wonder if their are more grains of sand then stars?

If you think about it, our Creator is still creating…creating sand continuously. “Sand is principally produced by the grinding action of waves. This is accompanied by a chemical solution (from the ocean), with the result that the more soluble constituents of the rock diminish in amount or disappear and the sands tend to become more or less purely silicious, silica or quartz being a common constitute in rocks and very insoluble.”

Portsmouth Island Outer Banks

When I was around the age of eight years, my family travelled to St. Augustine, Florida for a vacation. One day at the beach, I was arguing with my younger sister. It must have exasperated my dad to the point where he took my hand, walked me out onto the beach, picked up a handful of sand, picked out a grain and tossed it out back onto the beach. He said that all the grains represented the world and that grain of sand he tossed back into the mix was me! I am not sure what he meant but all I know is I felt very small and lost and unimportant. That was a very powerful statement spoken by my dad! That statement has a very different meaning to me as an adult. That grain of sand which represented me, IS a child of God! Amongst all those grains of sand (sheep) I am His! I am not small and I am not lost and I am important to Him! He gave HIS life for You and me! If I had been grounded in that belief as a child, the affect of my dad’s statement would not have had such a profound effect on me.

The Bible has much to say about sand.. A check of Strongs Concordance shows 25 verses in the Bible concerning sand. Most occurring in the Old Testament with 4 being in the New Testament.

Many of the verses have various descriptions of sand in its relation to the sea all are beautifully written and rhythmic. “sand of the sea”, “sand which is by the seashore”, “even as the sound on the seashore heaven then the sea”, “sand for the bound”.

Jockeys Ridge , Nags Head

Figuratively sand represents:

(1) Used most often as a symbol of countless multitude; especially of the children of Israel (Genesis 22:17; 32:12; 2 Samuel 17:11; 1 Kings 4:20; Isaiah 10:22; 48:19; Jeremiah 33:22; Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:27; Hebrews 11:12); also of the enemies of Israel (Joshua 11:4; Judges 7:12; 1 Samuel 13:5; compare Revelation 20:8). Joseph laid up gram as the sand of the sea (Genesis 41:49); God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the seashore (1 Kings 4:29); Job says “I shall multiply my days as the sand” (Job 29:18); the multitude of quails provided for the Israelites in the desert is compared to the sand (Psalms 78:27); the Psalmist says of the thoughts of God, “They are more in number than the sand” (Psalms 139:18); Jeremiah, speaking of the desolation of Jerusalem, says that the number of widows is as the sand (Jeremiah 15:8).

(3) of instability (Matthew 7:26).

(2) Sand is also a symbol of weight (Job 6:3; Proverbs 27:3), and

My boys playing in their sand box. Such a wonderful learning experience for them!

Sand and children seem to go hand in hand. Playing in a sandbox gives our children an opportunity to experience His creation. The Christian writer, Ellen White, likens children’s characters to “sliding sands” as their characters have not been solidified but are very fluid.

“Shun Superficiality—We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their character is built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been molded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life. The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their ruin”. 3 CG 184.5

Mrs. White also states, “The mark for good or evil made upon the characters of your children is not written in the sand, but is traced as on enduring rock. Their associations will have to be guarded, for what is learned from the words and habits of their companions will mold the whole after-life. The company your children keep, the principles they now adopt, [and] the habits they now form are settling the destiny of their future with an almost infallible certainty. DG 206.1

Child’s work!

Many are the lessons that may thus be learned. Self-reliance, from the tree that, growing alone on plain or mountainside, strikes down its roots deep into the earth, and in its rugged strength defies the tempest. The power of early influence, from the gnarled, shapeless trunk, bent as a sapling, to which no earthly power can afterward restore its lost symmetry. The secret of a holy life, from the water lily, that, on the bosom of some slimy pool, surrounded by weeds and rubbish, strikes down its channeled stem to the pure sands beneath, and, drawing thence its life, lifts up its fragrant blossoms to the light in spotless purity. Ed 119.1 (White)

This is beautiful! “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore;” Genesis 22:18

Abraham’s promised seed has been compared to the dust of the earth, to the stars of the heaven and to the sand upon the seashore. Genesis 32:12

The heart must be renewed by divine grace. He who attempts to build up a virtuous character independent of the grace of Christ is building his house upon shifting sand. In the fierce storms of temptation it will surely be overthrown. David’s prayer should be the petition of every soul: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. EP 325.3 (White)

My Creator’s vast, beautiful creation!

“Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine”..Christ said, “and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27. CT 61.1

He speaks to us always through His creation!

Feeling the terrible power of temptation, the drawing of desire that leads to indulgence, many a man cries in despair, “I cannot resist evil.” Tell him that he can, that he must resist. He may have been overcome again and again, but it need not be always thus. He is weak in moral power, controlled by the habits of a life of sin. His promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. The knowledge of his broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens his confidence in his own sincerity and causes him to feel that God cannot accept him or work with his efforts. But he need not despair. CH 439.4 (White)

Thus Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. To impress the lesson He adds an illustration. It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character. Self is but shifting sand. If you build upon human theories and inventions, your house will fall. By the winds of temptation, the tempests of trial, it will be swept away. But these principles that I have given will endure. Receive Me; build on My words. DA 314.3 (White)

Sand constitutes an effective barrier against the incessant beating of the waves.

In Jeremiah 5:22, The prophet appeals to God’s infinite power and consummate wisdom as exhibited in nature. The mysteries of the deep, its vast expanse and its rushing waves leaping mountain high, make the sea a fitting symbol of the wild and seemingly irresistible natural forces. Yet God, in His universal sovereignty, controls the violence of the deep.

He binds the ocean within certain limits declaring, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed” (Job 38:11; cf. Ps. 33:7; 104:9; Prov. 8:29). Though the individual particles of sand are easily shifted about, the vast beaches of sand constitute a most effective barrier against the incessant beating of the waves. SDA Commentary

Jeremiah 5:22 ….Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?

Plants using the sand for anchoring.

Have you built your life on the rock of Jesus?

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