When a friend refers to someone as a "rock,” what do you hear them saying? That that person is stable? Strong? Consistent? Maybe it means a little of all of that, and that the person can be depended upon, is always there, doesn't get easily rattled.
In the Bible, God is known as the rock of his people. Over 30 times in the Old Testament, God is referred to as “my rock,” “a rock,” or “the rock.” David especially, in the psalms, calls God his rock. This from a man well acquainted with trouble – persecutions and death threats, awful family disfunction and strife, wars, and at least one whopping big sin of his own which encompassed adultery and murder.
And then there are the references to the times when God brought forth water from the rock in the wilderness to quench the thirst of his people. That was in the days of Moses. We maybe could ignore those references were it not for 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, which states,
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
Fascinating. Awesome. And, of course, Christ is also called the stone of stumbling, a rock of offense, and the stone rejected by the builders that God has laid as the cornerstone in Zion.
How should we understand this? Well, in life we encounter all sorts of things that seem bigger than we can handle, things we can't get around or ignore or move out of the way or move out of our lives. People are not dependable in general. They betray us, abandon us, exploit us, abuse us, hurt our feelings. There are times when troubles threaten to sweep us away life a flood, times when we can't seem to find anything that can support us and hold us up.
But then there is God – the Rock. All those things that seem so big and threatening and even unmovable are nothing compared to God. God alone is unmovable, unshakable, solid and substantial, unassailable, steady and sure. God is so much bigger than the things that threaten us and shake us and send us scrambling for a place to hide. Tim Keller said, “Next to God's power, all other things that impressed you as power are just popguns.” Similarly, all things that seem like rocks are just pebbles or even sand compared to the Rock that is our God.
Need a firm place to stand in the storm? Go to the Rock. Need something to hold onto that won't give way? Fly to Jesus. In a wilderness land dying of thirst? Look to Jesus, the Rock cleft for us to bring us living water. Need someone you can count on and build your life upon and cling to when everything else is shaking and falling apart? Go to the Rock. Go to God in Jesus.
Because everything else is just sinking sand.