IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: THE ROCK OF AGES
Rev Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress” (Ps. 71:3).
Like most of the metaphors applied to God in Scripture, the idea that our Creator is a rock is multifaceted in its meaning. In addition to informing us of the Lord’s stable, unchanging nature (Deut. 32:4), it also tells us about His strength and ability to safeguard His people, much as stone fortifications provide an excellent refuge from the elements and other dangers. This, in fact, is how the metaphor of God as a rock is used in today’s passage.
1776 was the year the United States of America was born. It was also the year one of the favorite hymns of all time was born, and that was Rock Of Ages. The author was an Englishman named Augustus Montague Toplady. He wrote 133 poems and hymns, but they were all forgotten. This one, however, lives on, for it gives an image of Jesus that people need. We need to know that all else can crumble and collapse, but Jesus is that Rock of Ages, that solid rock on which we can stand when all other ground is sinking sand.
Francis Toplady was driving in a storm one day. Back in the old horse and buggy times, so the lightning and fierce winds were a real danger to him.
• Saw a hill. In the side of that hill there was a cleft in the rock, big enough for him to park his wagon in and be sheltered from the storm.
As he sat there, he thought, “That is just like Jesus!”
• Composed a song, “Rock of Ages.”
• “Rock of ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee.”
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the Word, as they were destined to do (1 Peter 2:4-8).
Paul in I Cor. 10:3-4 tells us Jesus was with the people of God in the Old Testament disguised as a rock. The rock from which water poured out to keep them alive in the desert was Jesus. He wrote, “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them and that rock was Christ.” Jesus has always been the source of the water of life, and has always been the Rock of Ages. He was the source of life and security for God’s Old Testament people just as He is for God’s New Testament people. They just did not know it was Jesus as we do.
And, as Paul writes in Phil 1:6, He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion. In Christ we have been saved from the wrath of God but also have been born again, enabled to live new lives of purity. We continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (c.f. Phil 2:12-13) until the day when we finally rest in the embrace of our Rock of Ages.
We are accustomed to identifying our enemies solely as those who hate us here on earth and whose opposition is easy to see and experience. Yet we should never forget that we come into this world at enmity with God and remain that way unless and until we repent of our sin and seek refuge in the rock of His righteousness. Let us thank Him that He has provided the only shelter that can guard us from His righteous wrath.
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