Our house has a large granite rock in our backyard. Over two feet high, it is not something easily moved. It may have been there since the house was constructed or perhaps since the glaciers covered Minnesota. The rock is a pain to mow around, but it is a marker in our yard.
Several years after we moved into our house, I looked out the window one day and saw a young boy sitting on the rock. At first I did not recognize him as one of the neighborhood children, but when his mother walked over and called him, I knew who he was. He was the son of the former owner of our house. The son had come back to see, touch, and sit upon the rock that had long been his. I sensed that he received some strength and comfort in that visit to the rock.
In Israel, large rocks were very common and became part of their faith language. In I Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel invokes God’s help to lead the Israelites in victory over the Philistines. He marks the victory by raising a stone marker.
Samuel took a single rock and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it “Ebenezer” (Rock of Help), saying, “This marks the place where God helped us.” I Samuel 7:12
In Psalm 18:2 rock is used a symbol of strength and security, where we can find safety.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge.
Jesus uses the image of a rock to describe his teachings and how we are to rely on his teachings as a firm foundation:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Matt 7:24)
Paul, using the story from Exodus when Moses provided water to the thirsty Israelites in the wilderness, described Jesus as the Rock from which comes spiritual water:
For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. (I Cor 10:4).
How is a rock a helpful image of God for you? Would you use a different image today?
Lord Jesus, be my rock and fortress today.
Rock. It is one of my favorite images from Scripture and to me, a comforting reminder of strength, of solidity, of endurance. I shared the link for your blog with our son Peter (reminding him what his name means) and that it seemed fitting for him to read as he enters his last day of freshman year, facing two challenging finals today. The rock image puts so much in perspective – and many of life’s challenges seem much less daunting when I visualize them grounded by the rock that is Jesus.