Some people think that rocks are hard and cold and lifeless.
Me, just let me get to the desert. Let me wake up at my mother’s house and enjoy the peaceful, calm, beautiful sun shining through the beautiful clouds, lighting the valley down below with an amazing golden hue. There is nothing quite like it, to wake up and from your bathroom window watch this amazing spectacle. It is beyond extraordinary, it is divine.
I once did not like the desert. I have a thing for green, you see. Give me trees and grass and flowers and you’ll see me happy as never before. But then I went to pre-bootcamp. It was in Sde-Boker, one of the most beautiful spots in the Israeli desert. A middle-of-nowhere kibbutz with a military base right on the edge of the cliff, overlooking incredible mountains and valleys. It was our first day, if I am not mistaken, and the sun was setting. Our commander took us up on the roof of the dining hall and taught us a lesson of some sort. I remember none of it, I was far too busy trying to etch into my memory every single last drop of sun hitting the mountains. I never saw anything like it and would probably never see any such thing again.
A few days later we went on a journey during the night. We were a class of 12 girls, our platoon (or whatever the English equivalent would be) was probably five times that size. We kept tripping over stones and over each other; so much so that our commander threatened to punish us if we didn’t start watching where we were going. You see, at night, in the desert, you can actually see stars. There are not five of them, like in any civilised town or city but there are thousands and hundreds of thousands and we just couldn’t stop watching them.
On the side of the dining hall in the camp was a phrase I can never quite clearly recall. It said something along the lines of “there are people who can’t see what could be beautiful about the desert; but some people simply fall in love with all the yellow and they will always have to come back”. I wish I could remember it, it was perfectly phrased to make you wonder.
As for me, as soon as I left that camp, I was in love. I realised that the desert wasn’t about the rocks and the sand and the hot wind at your back. It was a place of extremes and I am well acquainted with extremes. It was both cold and warm, both harmful and beautiful at the same time. It was dangerous and yet altogether soothing. You could die in the desert but you found life in abundance there also. There was green and animals and a sky like nowhere else. There is water and even plants you make soap out of. There are gems in the desert but also snakes.
There are many references to Yeshua, the rock of our salvation, in the bible. If we read carefully we might find that the rock is neither hard, cold or lifeless. That it is a source of living waters, of a safe haven and a place of refuge.
I have gathered some scriptures to show some of the characteristic of the biblical ‘rock’, our salvation.
1. It holds up and lifts us high. It hides us in times of trouble:
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
2. It is our fortress and deliverer, a place we go to in times of need. It is everlasting and thus trustworthy. It is strong and protects us.
2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3. It gives us calm in times of trouble, when we are overwhelmed it contains us.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
4. It is our shield and our protection, our salvation and our defense.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
5. It is holy, righteous and perfect.
1 Samuel 2:2
2 “No one is holy like the LORD,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.
2 Samuel 22:47
47 “The LORD lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let God be exalted,
The Rock of my salvation!
6. It is our refuge from the wrath of the Lord for it is written that He is our intercessor before the Father and our High Priest who beseeches the Father on behalf of us.
10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
From the terror of the LORD
And the glory of His majesty.
2 A man will be as a hiding place from the wind,
And a cover from the tempest,
As rivers of water in a dry place,
As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
7. It is a consuming fire.
21 Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.
8. It is a source of nourishment and quenches our thirst. It provides for our needs, spiritual and physical.
13 “He made him ride in the heights of the earth,
That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock;
8 “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”
1 Corinthians 10:4
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
9. It teaches us and makes us build our houses on strong foundational truths that we may not be feeble in faith.
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
10. It is the only way in which we may witness God (“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”).
17 So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”