The Scripture is rich with lithic pictures of God, depicting Him as “the Rock.” The Rock is not a pebble, not even a stone, but a great lithological edifice which dominates the horizon. It has roots that dig deep into the earth and a peak that stretches to the heavens. It was there when men arrived, and it will remain long after they are departed. The rains beat down on the Rock, the sun tries to scorch it; the earth quakes around it, and the rivers run past it – but the Rock cannot be moved. It even forms a kind of shelter for those around it: as the wind blows from the cold north, the south side of the Rock is protected by its sheer mass. When the noonday heat beats down upon a thirsty, cracked, and weary world – those who stay within the shade of the Rock are cooled by their nearness.
The Rock is a place of stability, a place that can support, sustain, and protect life – an oasis in the desert.
The harrowing storm assails us as we walk a difficult path. The storm cascades over our very soul. We can imagine that in the darkness of the storm, we would even fear being lost without a landmark. Where shall we look but to the Rock?
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (II Samuel 22:2-4).
Daylight has come with the morning, but with the noon the sun becomes oppressive. The land is dry, the way is dusty, and my tongue grows thick and sticks to my mouth. Where is relief but in the shadow of the Rock?
In times of trouble the Rock is there for me; so even in times of joy. Regardless of the situation, the Rock has become my unchanging companion, the visual compass by which I orientate myself.
“For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights … The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation, the God who gave me vengeance and brought down peoples under me, who brought me out from my enemies; you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from men of violence” (II Samuel 22:32-34, 47-49).
It’s not just God’s presence that is a lodestone for us, but it is his ineffable, unchanging qualities. He is Himself a monument to the great virtues! “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God” (I Samuel 2:2).
“…and the Rock was Christ” (I Corinthians 10:4b).
Photo: Levi Sisemore (hymnalcollector.com)
Christian Hymns, 1889
E.G. Sewell, R.M. McIntosh, Leonard Daugherty
Gospel Advocate Publishing Company