In Exodus 33:22 Moses is fearful of God’s command to leave a place of safety, Sinai. God gives Moses this assurance: “I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with my hand while I pass by.” Caves are one of God’s magnificent creations and are also ones that He uses as a symbol of safety and protection. Could anything harm you if God’s hand covered the entrance to your cave? Read or sing the words to a great hymn representing this verse, He Hideth My Soul.
The early church of the first century hid in caves, many of which can still be viewed in Jerusalem and in Rome. Hebrews 11:38 makes reference to Christians using caves as a means of safe travel through cities where they were persecuted. These connected caves were called catacombs. The Greek meaning of “Catacomb” would be “hollow in the ground.” The idea of catacombs meaning a place of burial occurred only after these “hollows” were discovered to be an ideal burial place. An excellent history and pictures of these caves can be found at www.leaderu.com/theology/burialcave.html.
The Foolish Man and the Wise Man built their houses on different foundations, one of rock and the other of sand. The song refers to Matthew 7:24-27 and is a great illustration for our lives to be built on the firm foundation, that of the Word of God. Just as caves protected Christians from harm, a solid foundation protects us from destruction. Use the following hands on demonstration to show students how a foundation that has no solid base (one that shifts with every whim of the world) is dangerous. Fill a large wash pan with sand. Ask teams of students to see who can build a house of cards (use 3X5 cards) on the sand. You can create a race to see which team can get the most cards stacked the highest before it falls, or to see who can keep their house standing the longest. Either way, the minute the sand is moved or shifted, the cards will fall.
Now build the same house of cards with a solid base such as a table top or game board mat. How much longer does the solid based house stay standing? Discuss with your students what philosophies of this world can create a base of shifting sands in our lives.