God Our Rock

INTRODUCTION: This study brings passages together from the Old and the New Testaments to demonstrate the solid basis of the Christian faith in the one true God. There is "no other foundation" for eternal life, and no other "cornerstone" for that foundation. The fact that God is our "rock" expresses spiritual truth that will endure for all time. This study is similar to the "Consider the Rock" study that was prepared in February 2000 which contains more scripture passages and a more detailed closing prayer. It is crucial that every believer understand and remember that we must give all the glory to God our Rock!

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the American King James Version.


A - GOD OUR ROCK

Deuteronomy "31:28 Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. 29 For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. 30 And Moses spoke in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended. 32:1 Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain on the tender herb, and as the showers on the grass: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe you greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. ... 15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. 18 Of the Rock that begat you you are unmindful, and have forgotten God that formed you."

COMMENTS: Moses spoke these words as they are recorded at the end of Deuteronomy. He was preparing to pass the leadership of Israel to Joshua, and he set the pattern describing the LORD God as the rock for the nation of Israel, knowing also that when they prospered they would forget him, or "lightly esteem" the rock of their salvation and the one who had formed them. This is a distinction for people of all ages that they will either reject or accept the rock of salvation. And for those who have a familiarity with the true God and a show of religion, but not a saving faith in him, are likely when they are prosperous to fall away from the truth that leads to salvation. [The other verses that use the same Hebrew term translated above as "Jeshurun" for Israel are: Deuteronomy 33:5, 33:26, and Isaiah 44:2.]

2 Samuel "22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?" (also in Ps 18:31).

2 Samuel "22:47 The LORD lives; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation." (also in Ps 18:46).

COMMENTS: King David glorified the LORD [Yahweh] as the only God, and the only rock of salvation. His words were recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 22 and reproduced in Psalm 18 for universal worship. David knew that the LORD was the rock-solid living God who provides salvation to those who fully trust in him alone for eternal life.

Nehemiah "9:13 You came down also on mount Sinai, and spoke with them from heaven, and gave them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: 14 And made known to them your holy sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses your servant: 15 And gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promised them that they should go in to possess the land which you had sworn to give them. 16 But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and listened not to your commandments, 17 And refused to obey, neither were mindful of your wonders that you did among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsook them not."

1 Corinthians "10:1 Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

COMMENTS: The passage from Nehemiah gives part of the message spoken by the priests to those who had returned to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylonia. It is a reminder of how gracious the LORD had been in bringing Israel out of bondage in Egypt, and his just judgment as they "lightly esteemed the LORD their rock over centuries from the time of Moses, through the period of the judges, and even through the period of the kings of Israel. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul speaks in spiritual terms about the rock that provided water for life beginning in the time of Moses with Israel in the desert, for he says "that rock was Christ." Paul connects the rock that was for the children of Israel for so many centuries, to Christ the rock who freely offers salvation to both Jew and Gentile.


B - THE REJECTED BUILDING STONE

Psalm "118:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: 20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. 21 I will praise you: for you have heard me, and are become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."

Matthew "21:37 But last of all he sent to them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers? 41 They say to him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other farmers, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

COMMENTS: Psalm 118 provides a poetic prophecy of the rock of salvation coming before Israel in the person of Christ. The Matthew passage then records Christ Jesus speaking to the religious leaders in the style of a parable, but the message only angers them without bringing them to the point of accepting him. His final comment to them was to direct their attention to the reference from that Psalm that it was the LORD's doing to lay that corner stone, but their reaction was not to find it marvelous in their eyes. The rejection of the Messiah promised for the Jews, extended grace to salvation for people of many different nations who would accept the Lord of the vineyard and bring forth the fruit produced from his vineyard. Those who had pride in their religious knowledge and practice rejected the corner stone that was essential for the only acceptable foundation upon which to establish the believers who would be truly of and for the LORD God.

Acts "4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said to them, You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, 9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the weak man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nothing of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

1 Peter "2:6 Why also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. 7 To you therefore which believe he is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."

Romans "9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like to Gomorrha. 30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed."

COMMENTS: After the resurrection of Christ, Peter healed a lame man through the power of God. When Peter and John were brought before the religious leaders Peter boldly told those men that the lame man had been healed by the name of Jesus Christ. He also stated that the Jews had crucified Christ, but God had raised him from the dead. Christ Jesus is the stone from prophecy in scripture, that was rejected by the builders of religion, that has become the corner stone for a true foundation of faith because there is no other name under heaven whereby people must be saved. In Peter's first letter he also wrote about the chief corner stone that is elect and precious for those who believe; but that same corner stone is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, for all of those who stumble at the word of God in their disobedience and disbelief that Jesus is the Christ of God. In the Romans passage the apostle Paul explains that those who depend upon a righteousness obtained by the works of the law will not obtain it because it must come by faith. Those who receive righteousness through faith in Christ will not be ashamed, but to those who reject him he is a stumbling stone and rock of offense that will bring them to lasting shame.


C - THE FOUNDATION ON THE SOLID ROCK

Isaiah "28:16 Therefore thus said the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste."

Luke "6:47 Whoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and dig deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently on that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded on a rock."

COMMENTS: Isaiah wrote the above prophecy foreshadowing the coming of Christ who would present himself as the sure foundation of God for those who would believe and place their trust in him alone. As Christ Jesus taught, one of the parables he used was that of building our house of life on the solid foundation of a rock that would not be shaken by the storms that would beat against it. The hearers (or readers) of this parable must comes to Jesus, hear his sayings, and do them to have that solid foundation for eternal life preserving them from the storms that rage against their souls.

Romans "1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Romans "10:9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. 10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. 11 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed."

1 Corinthians "3:10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

COMMENTS: All of the apostles chosen by Christ during his ministry in the flesh were Jews, and it was revealed to them that he is the Messiah prophesied in scripture. Their writings always lift up Christ Jesus to those who will receive him as that tried and true corner stone upon which we must build our faith to salvation. Paul makes it clear in the Romans chapter 10 passage that beyond confessing Christ as our Savior just by our words, we must believe in our heart (with our whole being) that God has raised Jesus from the dead. We must believe in our heart that Jesus filled all the prophecy about his coming and it was completed by his resurrection. Belief in him is the basis of our righteousness before God. Confession with our mouth of our faith in Christ demonstrates that we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ as Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1. By our faith We have confidence that we will not be ashamed when Christ returns. Paul told the Corinthians that the foundation he laid out as he ministered was that of Christ Jesus, and in fact there is no other foundation that anyone can use for the gospel than that laid by God, which is Jesus Christ!


--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

Lord you are my rock of salvation to eternal life, and I thank you that you brought me to the point of understanding your word that I might trust you alone as the sure foundation for my faith. I want to demonstrate the blessing that I have in being part of those who have received your vineyard that was taken from others as described in your parable to the religious leaders. I acknowledge that as the vineyard is yours, so to is the fruit that is yielded as I have become one of your workers. I know that this is the Lord's doing, and it is a marvelous thing for me to consider. I also want to continually build my life upon the rock-solid foundation of your word, and not to be like those who build on sand. When I have opportunity to share the gospel with others, help me Lord to build only upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and your finished work because there is no other foundation. Hallelujah and all glory to God my Rock! Amen.


Published 19 February 2013