An Unreliable Foundation

Bill Brinkworth

In the central, Italian city of Pisa, there are many popular sights for the tourists. Many come to see the University of Pisa, which was first started in 1343. Others flock to the Piazza del Duomo ( Cathedral Square) to see the famous white, marbled cathedral, its baptistery and the tilting bell tower. Of all that the city has to show, none is more memorial and curious then the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or as a 1929 Scientific American article named it, the “Sinking” Tower of Pisa.

The tower was begun in August of 1173 A. D., that they are sure. Many of the other details are vague, because they are not documented. They are not sure who the architect was. At least three different times the project resumed and halted.

Many believe by the completion of the third story the tower’s tilting was discovered. Because of battles and possibly because of the discovery of its inclination, construction was halted. Soft, river valley sediments, sand, and clay did not support its weight, and the building began leaning. A temporary bell was placed on the third story.

There the semi-finished building lay, year after year, halted before it was completed. I’m sure it was a laughing stock for many.

“Hey, Luigi, see that unfinished tower those foolish builders left.”

“Such lack of planning. Such waste of money and materials, and what an eyesore. If they had only spent the time wisely on a firm foundation on which to build,” may have been the conversation of the past.

Some of the later levels tried to compensate for the five-degree tilt by building them off-center, on the trued vertical. Upward the white, marbled structure went. Over the next one hundred years construction was started and stopped several times. It is believed the belfry was completed in 1350, as one of the bells in the tower is dated.

Still, the campanile leans. All the planning, ingenuity and decoration did not solve or even hide the problem that the building tilts more then 17 feet from its perpendicular and continues to tilt at a rate of ¼ an inch per year.

Man still has not given up. Many attempts have been made to stop its leaning. In the 1930’s, cement was injected through pipes inserted under the tower in hopes that the foundation would be strengthened and the leaning would cease. The tilting still continued.

Attempts were made to tie it together with cables to keep it intact. Numerous restoration projects were begun and then discontinued.

Plans for the structure’s righting are vast. Some call for jacking the building’s one side up, six feet, and moving the 14,700 metric tons to a new concrete base. The more sure method would be to dismantle the eight stories and start construction over on a thick, firm foundation.

How many lives in the past and future have been erected in a similar manner. Instead of building a life on the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ and around the firm foundation of the Word of God (our preserved KJV Bible), people try all kinds of ways, plans, and fads to live their lives. They spend their entire life compensating for a life that was not founded on a firm foundation from the beginning. How hopeless their efforts are if they are not in-line with God’s plan and method.

Lives have been directed by the advice of strangers, family, television talk shows and even from movies. Newspaper columnists and other’s beliefs have probably directed more lives then would ever be known. Man-made religion has also misdirected many.

All kinds of techniques have been tried to stop problems. Today there are drugs to try to solve problems of weight loss, nervousness, lack of attentiveness, feelings of loneliness, and other life problems. The hope is in a pill to fix a problem.

Psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ advice is followed, no matter how extreme or illogical it seems. Man’s attempts to right a tilting life usually fail.

Few of these ever seek to get the advice of their Creator, who has raised millions upon millions of children. Father knows best – but He is rarely sought for direction, or His word followed for guidance. No wonder so many lives are slanting to an inevitable destruction.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, 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 every one 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

There is a clear way to restructure a sin-troubled life. Sin is usually the “tilting” force.

This way can totally change one’s life. It is the only way that works. Man tries to change a life from the outside, hoping the inside will be altered. God changes it from the inside, and then the outside will be transformed. The amount of renovation is reliant on one’s amount of obedience to God’s commands, found in His Word.

When a man is saved, his life is changed. The inward change is done in the heart. That’s why the Bible names a spiritually revitalized person as “born again”. A life is started all over again.

He is a new creature. All sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. The new life can begin on a new foundation – one that will support the load of life’s troubles. Guilt from sin is gone. Penalty from past sins are gone!

This “second chance” can simply be achieved by first admitting one’s sins. The Bible reminds us that we are all sinners. Not one of us has pleased God with our good works or kindness.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

God certainly knows we are sinners. Our confession of our guilt shows God that we are humbling ourselves and admitting our failure in doing it our way, rather then His.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

Once the realization of our sinfulness is acknowledged, one must know that a price has been paid for our sins. God’s only son, Jesus, paid the price.

The death He suffered on the cross was not for His sin, as He was sinless. It was for our transgressions. His payment is the only fee God will accept. We cannot pay for our sinning against God by our own good works or deeds. He paid the price.“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Hebrews 9:15

 Once we are saved, we are now in the family of God. The Father can do the guiding if the “born again” child will obey Him. A life can be salvaged and restarted. There can be hope. We can compensate and recover from our self-lived lives.

The world’s solutions hardly ever work, and if they do, they only work temporarily. God can come into a life and straighten the crooked course – and it can stay undeviated.

Build your life around the Word of God. It is as true today as when God inspired its writing. Since then, it has been used of God to raise, support, and guide millions. It is the firm foundation. It will never let you tilt.


This article was featured in The Bible View #239.

This article was printed in The Revival Fires - 8/04

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