“There is none holy as the Lord … neither is there any rock like our God.”
These profound words were uttered by Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:2. They are part of her magnificent prophecy after giving birth to Samuel.
How much does this statement mean to you? Is God truly the Rock in your life, as He was to so many of God’s great saints down through the centuries?
Conditions in this world are getting worse, and will deteriorate far more as we approach Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Our need for that Rock will grow more urgent and intense all the time!
‘Thou Art My Rock’
King David continually looked to God as his Rock, his fortress, his protection, his deliverer. No one calls God his Rock in Scripture more often than the future king of Israel. It is a title we should feel comfortable using in our prayers.
“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71:3). So often in David’s life, he literally dwelt in the rock of mountains and caves, hiding for his life. Imagine your very life hanging in the balance day after week after month—for over a decade. Time and again he had to make his escape from King Saul! Yet he looked to God for help, even penning psalms while taking up haven within the rocky hideaways throughout the countryside.
God loved David very much. Many psalms show how God rescued him from dire circumstances—repeatedly, miraculously helping him evade bands of men trying to kill him! David praised God for His deliverance with song, and his praise has been a witness to many.
We, too, may continually rely on God. Because of God’s protection, we may offer sacrifices of joy, singing praises to Him. We do this at regular services and at God’s Feast sites. It’s always easier to do that when we’re feeling safe and secure, isn’t it?
“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95:1). This is just one example where we see a direct connection between music and the Rock. We may never play an instrument, but we can all sing praises to our mighty fortress. (The way it’s expressed here—make a “joyful noise”—takes into account that most can’t sing like Pavarotti.)
Study Psalm 62, which is about putting our trust wholly in God. “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God,” David wrote in verse 7. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah” (verse 8).
In verse 2, David wrote, “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.” In verse 6, he repeated: “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.” David grew in confidence—in verse 2, he said merely that he wouldn’t be greatly moved. Later, he said that he wouldn’t be moved at all!
Do you allow even the smallest of trials to move you away from God? We must sometimes wait on God for healing, a better job, a job, a mate, children and many other things. Patience is a precious trait and a rare virtue in this age of instant gratification. The psalmist—being just as human as we are—sometimes asked his Rock why He forgot him (e.g. Psalm 42:9). We are even more prone to think God may never answer us.
Yet David waited on God for answers and for his deliverance. He said he would cry from the ends of the Earth to be heard by the Rock that was higher than him (Psalm 61:2). Never quitting in any area—waiting loyally until the end—is a mark of fine character.
David was prevented from building what he desired most: a house for God. Psalm 27:4-6 show how King David deeply desired to commune with God and seek His favor in the temple. Why? “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock” (verse 5). He longed for the protection and comfort that only God can give.
This has to be personal and real to each of us to help see us through any and all tough times. We can have that same supreme confidence in God any time, but especially during trouble! He will hide us in His pavilion—in the secret depths of His tabernacle. But He can also lift us up above any enemies who surround us.
To the End of His Life
Even at the end of his trial-filled life, David kept this wonderful perspective. “The Lord is my Rock,” he said in song (2 Samuel 22:2). He used the Hebrew word sela, meaning lofty; a craggy rock.
“For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?” David continued. “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. … The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation” (verses 32–33, 47). The rest of the chapter shows how God dealt with David’s enemies.
That song in 2 Samuel 22 is repeated in Psalm 18, with some variations. There it begins, “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18:1). The better translation for “I will love thee” is “fervently do I love thee.” The Hebrew implies loving compassionately. If our love is this personal and deep, it will result in a great quality and quantity of time spent with God. God our Father and Jesus Christ should form the basis of everything we think and do in our lives!
“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (verse 2). If we ascend to God, our high tower of strength, we are safe and secure from such a height. Our vision is better for miles around, to see enemies and other mortal dangers.
“I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (verse 3). Our Rock gives us promise after promise of deliverance from everything—but He wants us to ask! “For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God? … The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted” (verses 31, 46). David knew God was the One who secured him—“my rock.”
Look at what the Bible calls “the last words of David” in 2 Samuel 23: “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (verse 3). That shows how close David was with God. Biblical history shows that God often spoke to the king through prophets like Nathan and Gad—but David saw it as God Himself, the Rock of Israel, speaking to him. The Rock of Israel speaks to us through His apostle and ministers. Do we hear God’s voice?
A Rock to the Israelites
Long before David, even before Hannah, God was a Rock to the Israelites under the leadership of Moses. In fact, as they journeyed to the Promised Land, they carried with them a literal rock that symbolized Christ: Jacob’s pillar stone.
Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament, their Rock. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says the ancient Israelite fathers “drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” As the people of ancient Israel miraculously drew water from that stone of destiny, they drew spiritual strength from God (e.g. Exodus 17:6; Deuteronomy 8:15).
Christ is also our Rock today. He is often referred to as our “Rock” in Scripture. Like the Israelites, we also have abundant water available from our Rock: God’s precious Holy Spirit. So much may be accomplished with God’s help when we look to Him as our Rock.
Moses spent a lifetime dealing with the hardheaded Israelites. In the 40th year after the Exodus, at the desert of Zin, the faithless people were complaining about the things they lacked. Moses and Aaron prayed for direction, and God commanded Moses to take the rod, to gather the people, and to speak to the rock so it would give water (Numbers 20:8). Moses, under the strain of this situation, shouted, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (verse 10). He then abandoned God’s clear instructions and cracked his rod down upon the stone—twice. Water then spilled out of it.
Of course, God wants us to look to Moses’s example overall. But here, because Moses did not allow God to be glorified in the eyes of the people, God told him he would not enter the Promised Land with the people (verse 12).
There was a lesson in this event, not only for Moses but also for us and the world. This whole, blind world will soon be taught that all people—not just Moses—smote Jesus Christ, the Rock. He allowed Himself to be smitten for the sins of all humanity.
Israel Lightly Esteemed the Rock!
In some of his last inspired instructions to Israel, Moses himself declared the symbolism: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
God kept His covenant with ancient Israel and Judah. Everything He promised them came to pass. If they failed—as the vast majority did—it was their fault! If we fail, we only have ourselves to blame.
Verse 15 reads, “But Jeshurun [an affectionate name for Israel] waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” God was a Father to them and had formed them as a nation—but they forsook Him (verse 16). “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (verse 18). Many of God’s people have made the same mistake in the end time.
As a result, the Israelites were punished with bitter destruction. “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?” (verse 30). God “sold” them—allowed them to be defeated and taken into captivity. With God’s blessings, one of us will chase 1,000; two of us will put 10,000 to flight! Instead, because of their disobedience, it was just the opposite.
“For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah …” (verses 31-32). The Israelites would have been able to smite their enemies because their Rock was far superior to that of the pagans—had their fruit not been that of sin and rebellion. The same has befallen God’s rebellious people today.
God has promised to fight for us. He is the source of all blessings and true success. Our enemies will fall before us by the sword with His help.
There’s no possible way we could win, humanly, against the even greater odds we face. The number of our opponents is huge, but so is our assurance of winning!
A Stone of Stumbling
In Isaiah 8:14, Christ is prophesied to be a “sanctuary”—or a sacred or holy place. He will provide peace, safety, comfort and security for us. Yet it also says He will be for a “stone of stumbling” and “rock of offence” to Israel. Yes, the very Rock that provides security to the righteous is an obstacle to the wicked.
Luke 20:17 states, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head.” This verse originates in Psalm 118:22. These prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church of God.
Our Father sent His Son the first time, not as a mighty prince and a conqueror that everyone would desire to trust in, but as a man of sorrows, humiliation and death. The Jews stumbled at Christ for that reason, and also because He didn’t come to deliver them from the Romans at that time. He was a “poor” man with little appeal to worldly people. Most find it difficult to believe He is offering salvation to us in the way He is doing it today. The tiny handful of firstfruits who trust in Him will not be ashamed of Him or confused.
The Jews were ignorant of or resistant to God’s righteousness, which comes only by faith in Jesus Christ. They went about to establish their own righteousness, “not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone” (Romans 9:32). They kept a laundry list of man-made rituals. When Jesus Christ brought the gospel of the Kingdom of God offering free salvation to Gentiles as well as Jews on the basis of grace and faith, and being rewarded according to their works, they took offense and rejected it.
The principle we must get is how vital it is to simply do what God tells us. We must lay a foundation of the right way of life, brick by brick, that can’t be moved.
1 Peter 2:7-8 expand on Christ being “a rock of offence.” The word offense means a snare, or a trap stick—like a bent sapling, pulled back and ready to whip forward with a stinging strike. This is what Christ became “to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient.” They stumbled because they were disobedient to God’s government and law! But anyone who willingly obeys God will not stumble at Jesus Christ!
In an August 1996 Trumpet article about the stone of destiny, Gerald Flurry wrote, “The leaders of ancient Israel and the world have been stumbling over Jesus Christ for thousands of years.” Yet, though they stumble, we must not. Although He has been a cause of stumbling for the world, the Church is founded on God’s Son. He has set us upon a solid Rock.
Church Founded on Christ
The Church of God is founded on Jesus Christ, the Rock. As Christ said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [Greek Petros, meaning a pebble or stone], and upon this rock [Greek Petra, meaning a large rock, cliff or rocky fortress] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The word rock in this verse should be capitalized—because Christ used it to refer to Himself!
The Church we are a part of—though small, scattered and scorned—is founded on this same Rock!
That Greek word brings to mind the Jordanian rock-fortress city of Petra. “Petra is a symbol of Christ’s enormous strength,” Mr. Flurry writes in his Obadiah booklet. “I know of no place on Earth that comes close to being such a powerful symbol of Christ. … Through Mr. Armstrong, Christ built the wcg on this Rock. God empowered and protected that Church for over 50 years. The members were in a spiritual Rock fortress—just as Petra is physically.”
Commenting on Matthew 7:24-25, where Christ said: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock,” Mr. Flurry writes: “This is the stone or rock to which we should anchor everything in our lives. If we build our lives on this rock we will never be confounded” (The Key of David).
United in the Rock
“[Y]e that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn …” (Isaiah 51:1). Abraham and Sarah are great examples of looking to the Rock from which Israel was cut. The picture here is that of a rock being chiseled out of a quarry. The same God who caused this royal couple to bring Israel into existence as a nation through the miracle birth of Isaac will cause them to flourish once again.
How solid is your foundation on the Rock? How cemented is your relationship with the Rock, our Husband, the foundation of this Church?
In Mr. Flurry’s first Feast of Tabernacles 2010 sermon, he gave the Church new revelation from Genesis 28, which describes the origin of the stone of destiny. The stones Jacob used for his pillow became united as one pillar stone. Mr. Flurry said this miraculous event was analogous to us becoming married to Jesus Christ—the Rock!
We are going to become one stone with Christ! We should be growing in unity with our Husband even now. Then, at our birth into God’s Family, our incredible future together will begin in earnest!
Truly there is no Rock like our God!