Christ, Our Rock

April 17, 2023
Mark Kolchin

…when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:2

When Moses uttered the words “for their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges” (Deut. 32:31), he did more than just declare a mild difference between the world’s ways and God’s. It was a bold declaration to the people of God that the resources they possess in the Lord are far greater than what this world has to offer in dealing with the issues of life. It is not just a case of the world having their ways of tackling problems and we have ours, as if both ways are legitimate. No, their ways are ultimately ineffective and inadequate “…themselves being judges.” The point is that they know it, they just don’t want to admit it. Their rock is indeed not as our Rock. There is a difference—a big difference—though I once saw a clever application of this verse as a justification for contemporary Christian music. Maybe there is not a big difference there, except in words. But at least there is a difference, and that is the point. 

The Smitten Rock 

The symbol of Christ as our Rock is seen throughout God’s Word in many ways. When the children of Israel were traveling through the wilderness, it was the smitten Rock that brought forth life-giving water to the weary travelers. As Israel experienced, the water that gushed from this Rock stands in stark contrast to the broken cisterns of this world. These cisterns have always failed eventually and for those who have tried to find true refreshment from them they will ultimately testify that they “mocked me as I wailed.” The world’s broken cisterns hardly provide lasting and satisfying spiritual refreshment to the desperate soul. Their rock is not as our Rock! 

The Sustaining Rock 

Later in their wilderness sojourn that same Rock would sustain Israel on their journey in another place. First Corinthians 10:4 states: “They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ.” It was that same Rock, though it was a different situation. The fact that it is in another location (Ex. 17:6; Num. 20:11) and that it only required to be spoken to and not struck again is a plain reminder to us that we have a Resource that we can come to time and again to help us, subsequent to our salvation. The world’s cisterns will eventually run up or be abandoned in time for some new cistern that proposes to be better than the last. They too will fail, but Christ will not. Their rock is not as our Rock! 

The Solid Rock 

This same Rock—Christ—is also the place we should go to when our hearts are overwhelmed. Problems will always come up and sometimes many at one time. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be overwhelmed by “a great multitude” coming at one time against us (2 Chron. 20:2). All he could do was to look to the Lord, not knowing what to do (v. 12). His experience stands in complete contrast to Jacob who heard that Esau was on his way to settle an old score with him (Gen. 32:1). We tend to implement our own plan first—resorting to our own wisdom and ingenuity first, then praying for the Lord to bless. Really it should be the other way around—first praying, then asking the Lord for guidance as to the next course of action. Foolish for us to think we should manage our affairs without His help! The overwhelmed heart—which seems to be a common thing these days—needs to go to higher ground. “The Rock that is higher than I,” is where we get the solid footing to deal with the issues of life that assault us every day and in every way. Regardless of the way we feel, we are assured of help to withstand the assault from an array of enemies. Hymnwriter Edward Mote stated it this way: “when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.” Mote penned those words in the mid 1800’s when no internet existed, nor the societal ills that saturate our cultural landscape today. If he felt overwhelmed then, how much more would he feel overwhelmed if he were living today? All the more reason for us to heed his spiritual advice during the “present distress” (1 Cor. 7:26) and any personal issues that we may be going through now. Like David, when our hearts are overwhelmed, we need to go to that Rock “that is higher than I” and show to those around us that their rock is not as our Rock!