Our guest speaker this morning was Thomas Kitchen of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Llandrindod Wells, who preached on 2 Samuel 22:47-51.
What do you think of when you think of a rock? Do you think of a beach and playing in rock pools or perhaps is your mind drawn to something more adventurous such as rock climbing, caves or volcanoes? Perhaps you think of the rocks at the bottom of the garden where beetles and worms hide? Whatever we think, we each have a preconception about the word ‘rock.’ Here, in 2 Samuel, the author speaks of God as a rock. Job 18 refers to the rock that shaped the world.
Rocks have many important uses. We say ‘God is our rock.’ We may say this to encourage one another when we are feeling low, we may say it to those who don’t know God as an encouragement to know Him. What does ‘God is our rock’ actually mean?
There are three reasons why God is called a rock in the Bible:
- God is described as a rock because it is He who we are grounded upon. Salvation is the greatest blessing we have received. Because of Jesus’ blood we can now say, ‘On Jesus Christ, the solid rock, we stand.’
The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted. The rock of my salvation!’ (2 Samuel 22:47). This is a great assurance. Jesus has risen from the dead and is at the Father’s side and is praying and interceding for us. Because Jesus has saved us and bought us, He is our rock. He is the rock of my salvation. Not everyone can say that. The Parable of the wise man and the foolish man in Matthew 7 shows us two foundations: the rock and the sand. Jesus compares us to a wise man. What Jesus is saying is unbelievable. Even though He has done all the work and died for our sins, His Spirit now lives in us and we care called the wise men. He has brought us into the Kingdom. You cannot fall from grace if you are founded in the rock. His blessings will never fail.
Just because Jesus blesses us doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bless Him. So often we overlook what He has done for us in our daily lives. But this passage tells us this is wrong. We are to praise Him more. He gives us the Spirit so we can praise Him. He never stops giving. We always have His salvation. Every day we are reminded in His Word what it cost. It is His blessings that will bring us safely home into glory. In Psalm 20 we read, ‘We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfil all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.’
- The second reason God is referred to as a rock is because the rock lifts us onto higher ground. ‘He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; you have delivered me from the violent man.’ (2 Samuel 22:49) God has delivered us from the power of the world. We have been lifted up against those who are against us. The powers of the world still affect us, we can still panic and worry. We are still in a fallen world and the powers of Satan are still at work, but we can’t be seriously hurt in any way. Satan knows that once we are saved we are saved but he will still do his very best to make us think we are not on the rock of Jesus Christ. We may feel the waves can affect us but it’s not true; Jesus says in the Parable of the Wise man and the Foolish man that the waves, floods and winds come but the home did not fall because it was founded on the rock. Jesus didn’t promise His followers a pain free life. The pains and troubles will frequently use all of our strength to drag us away but God’s strength is stronger than the waters that try to wash us away.
Why do the world’s temptations and desires seem to grab us more often than they should? Because we are not holding on to the rock enough! We let go, curiosity takes over. Christ won’t let go of us but we choose to free ourselves, to have a glance at the waters below. Why do we do this? The ways of the world will only make us panic. When we do, we then have the audacity to cry out to God, ‘Why?’ This is why the world troubles us more than it should. We are to put on a new man, but the old man is still there; we miss those lusts, the old desires. In such times we need to cry out to Him first, not after. This is one of the great benefits of prayer; God can give us blessings to reject the sin before it happens. God is our rock because He has put us on higher ground. Reach even higher with the footholds of the scripture, reach out to the Holy Spirit, reach out in prayer.
- Thirdly, a rock is immovable and dependable. God is the immovable rock that we can depend on. Our Lord Jesus Christ is deeper and more wholesome than anything the world can offer us. Isaiah 43:13 ‘Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it’ No-one can find a way around God, He is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere. Satan is the strongest of forces that opposes God but he shall be cast out forever from God’s sight. God is permanent and secure. He is not only a strong God but a dependable God. He is willing and able to answer prayer when we need guidance to get through a particular trial.
What does this all mean to me right now? What do we do with this doctrine? The answers lie in verses 50-51.
‘Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.’ (2 Samuel 22:50). Don’t keep the goodness to yourselves! Use all the resources at your disposal to tell others how God can be their rock. Don’t be shy or reserved about talking about the gospel. We can also be lazy and try to do the minimum a Christian can do in their life. We detach ourselves from the world in the entirely wrong way. We should want to tell others about the gospel. It’s shameful if we don’t. We should continue to climb even higher. The closer we are to Him, the closer we are to expressing Him.
‘He is the tower of salvation to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed, to David and his descendants forevermore.’ (2 Samuel 22:51). God shows mercy to His anointed forevermore.
The hymn of John Wilbur Chapman reads:
Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Saviour, makes me whole.
Chorus: Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my victory wins.
Jesus! What a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul.
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
He is your God. He is your rock. This reminds us of where we stand, how we stand and how long we will stand. God is never failing, never sinking or shifting. What a comfort that is to us!