By: J.T. Haywood
The land of Palestine is a very mountainous country, and also a land of many rocks, which, in the days of old, made part of the country; for in the times of danger the inhabitants retired to them, where they found a refuge against any sudden irruption of the enemy.
When the Benjaminites were overcome, and almost exterminated by the Israelites of the other tribes, they secured themselves in the rock Rimmon, and there they hid themselves for four months. Judges 20:47. In that rock was their salvation. After Samson had smitten the Philistines “hip and thigh with a great slaughter” he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock, Etam. Judges 15:8.
It was into the rocks that David often hid himself when he was persecuted by Saul. At Engedi he entered into the cave of rock which was of so vast extent that he was able to hide himself and 3,000 men, and although Saul entered into it, while they were concealed therein, yet he did not discover them (I Sam. 24:1, etc.)
From the security and deliverance of their people so often through the rocky regions of their coveted land the Israelites began to apply the metaphor to the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Nothing
could have been more appropriate than esteeming Him as the Rock of their salvation. In Him they had found a refuge from the hands of their enemies. He was their Rock, His work was (and is) perfect; “a God of truth” just and right is He. (Duet. 32:4.)
In rehearsing the wonderful work wrought through the mighty hand of their God, Moses inquires, “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the
Lord had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Duet. 32:30, 31). Moses had not forgotten the God of his fathers, who in the time of the most
decisive moment of his life, said, “My Presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest * * * Behold there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in the clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by.” Ex. 33:12-23. It was while in the clift of the rock that the Lord proclaimed and revealed the meaning of His name, (Ex. 34:1, etc.) and renewed the tables of stone which had been broken in the hands of Moses.
David’s faith in the Rock of Israel was firm. He trusted in Him alone saying, “Who is a Rock, save our God? God is my strength and power.” Unto thee will I cry, O Lord, my rock. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: LEAD ME TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I. He brought me up also out of an horrible Pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock. What a blessed thing it is to be made to stand upon a rock!
“In the Lord, Jehovah, is the rock of Ages” (margin Isa. 26:4). He is the hope of His people. When fainting and thirsty in the “waste howling wilderness” Moses smote a rock and “water gushed out,” did eat and
drink and were satisfied, and they did eat and drink and were satisfied, and “that Rock was Christ.” I Cor. 10:1-4. In his flesh as a man he was the “shadow of a Great Rock in a weary land,” but spiritually, “that Rock was Christ.” It is on this Rock that the Church of God is built (Matt. 16:18), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Though rain descends, the floods come, the winds blow and beat upon it, it shall never fall for it is founded upon a rock. If we put our trust in Him, we shall be like Mount Zion which
shall never be moved. He that believeth in Him shall have the life of the Rock of Ages.
(The above material was published by The Voice in the Wilderness, Detroit, MI.)
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