As a child in Sunday school we sang a song complete with silly actions about the Wise man building his house upon a rock, while contrasting a foolish man building his house upon the sand. Structurally this was an easy concept to grasp. Especially if you’ve ever built a sand castle on a beach too close to the water. Packing pails to mold sand and build a fortress fit for a frog. Just as the finishing touches are placed, a gentle wave licks the side of your palace and pulverizes the wall exposing the keep.
There are many songs, psalms and verses comparing God to a Rock.
Rock of Ages – (Traditional Hymn) by Augustus Todplay (1763)
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock – Isaiah 26:4
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge – Psalms 18:2
At first glance we tend to think of ‘rock’ as strong or protection. Though this comparison holds merit and brings a comforting notion, I’d like to uncrate what the psalmist is getting at. If a fortress is a stronghold and a place to take refuge when the enemy comes in the ancient world, then why is the Lord his ‘rock’ and why is it mentioned before fortress or deliverer?
Today’s society lives life in the sand. “This item isn’t what I really wanted, it’s ok I can return it.” “My appliance just broke, oh well I can just replace it.” “This portion of the castle didn’t fit into the form when I made it, I’ll just remove it and try again.”
Isn’t it comforting knowing God doesn’t just give up on us? When we feel like we are drowning in life God is the rock we can hold onto. On the contrast history is littered with examples of mankind struggling with decisions or changing their mind. We know it, and God knows it better. Imagine escaping gridlock rush hour traffic in a major metropolis by following a GPS when you see a construction sign. “Reduced to 1 lane”. Oh, I better turn around and head back to the streets I know and turn off the GPS. Sounds ridiculous, but yet, that is exactly who we are.
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” – Exodus 13:17
When you think of a rock, don’t think of a stone, don’t even think of a boulder. In fact, when it comes to God a mountain is too small, but it will work for the purpose of this blog. See God is an unmovable, unchanging rock which is great news as previously mentioned… until it isn’t… or is it?
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
Christians get a bad rap for using the Bible as a milk crate to stand on and judge others. There are many views the world sees as acceptable yet the Bible sees as sinful. But isn’t it great! “God’s views are in line with my views so let’s preach!”
The Bible is God’s Word, not words, not paragraphs and certainly not a ‘choose your own adventure book’ which we often like to treat it as. What about the portions we skip over and the lessons we leave unimplemented into our lives? You know the tough ones to read because it causes us to step down from our milk crate and re-examine where we stand; only to realize we are still on the beach.
The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. – Nahum 1:2
Now if that verse doesn’t scare the pants off you, imagine falling off a mountain onto hard jagged rocks. Now that’s the less painful version of that verse. If you say, “but that’s Gods enemies, me and Him are friends so it doesn’t apply.” Then you may be in more trouble than you realize. Sin and therefore sinners are the enemy of God. Though, He is a forgiving and gentle Lamb, He is also a roaring Lion ready to devour.
Jesus said: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. You shall also love your neighbour as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31
If I’m being honest, I fail these two commandments daily. I truly deserve to step into the Roman Colosseum and have the guards release the lions. But lucky for me that won’t happen. Not just because the Roman Empire has vanished, but because the Lion of Judah stepped down and stepped into the ring as a Lamb to take my place so that I can be free.
Though I still play in the sand and can be persuaded to move which ever way the winds of this world blows, I’m happy to be covered in Living Water which keeps me heavy and steadfast so long as I keep myself saturated and holding on to my rock, my God.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine [Jesus] and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24