|Scripture Reference||Scripture Text|
|Deuteronomy 32:4||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.|
|Deuteronomy 32:31||For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.|
|1 Samuel 2:2||There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.|
As I was prayerfully considering what subject I would use for my last Sacrament talk here, a verse of Scripture found in the Old Testament came to mind. The Scripture is taken from what is known as Moses’ song or his farewell address to the children of Israel and is found in Deuteronomy chapter 32. The Scripture that I will base my talk on this morning is verse 31 of that chapter which reads, “For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” During the next few minutes that I have to share with you, I would like to talk briefly about OUR ROCK, who is indeed THE ROCK OF ALL AGES.
Jesus Christ, known in Old Testament times as Jehovah, was given the figurative title of the Rock by many of the prophetic writers. In a simple statement, Moses, as recorded in Deuteronomy 32:4 exhorted, “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.” The Psalmist, in Psalm 18:31 asked the question, “For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God?” Then in Psalm 62:7, the Psalmist exclaims, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” David exalts in 2 Samuel 22:1-4,
1 And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
2 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
4 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul explained to the Corinthian believers that Moses and the Israelites “. . .did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (See 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).
All of these scriptural expressions illustrate that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed Our Rock. He is immoveable, steadfast, and sure. He is the foundation upon which our faith is built and strengthened. He is unchangeable – the same throughout the ages. “For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?” (Mormon 9:9, Book of Mormon).
I would like to take a brief look at three of the characteristics of Our Rock.
Characteristics of Our Rock:
First, Our Rock is a well of Living Water. The Psalmist tells us that the children of Israel were once in the desert perishing for want of water. They gathered together in a little circle upon the burning sands, and with their staffs they dug a little well in the sand, and lifted up their voices to God in songs of praise. Immediately, the waters sprang up from the depths below and overflowed once again.
In the same way, Our Rock sends His fountains of Living Water all along our way. Though the deserts of life may be all around us, and the wells at times may all seem dry, even in the hottest desert, we need to only exercise our faith and lift up our voices in songs of praise and thanksgiving, and immediately the Living Water will once again begin to spring forth.
Second, Our Rock is a sheltering rock. This is the rock of which the Psalmist declared,
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy” (Psalm 61:2,3).
A little rock will not give much shelter from the sweltering heat. It only intensifies the heat that it has absorbed; but a great rock drinks in the warm rays in one side, and on the other provides a cooling shadow for the traveler that rests under its overshadowing cliffs. Christ is the shadow of a Great Rock. He is always there when we need Him. He is only a prayer away. No matter what problems or difficulties we may face in life, He is always ready to comfort us, to shelter us from the storms of life, and to give us sweet peace and rest. His love for us is infinite. He loves each of us as if we were the only persons in the entire world that need His comfort and rest. Hear the Master as He beckons us,
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
Perhaps these are some of the things that Augustus Montague Toplady, the writer of the classic hymn of the Church, “Rock of Ages” (Hymn number 111 in our hymn books), thought about in 1776 as he wrote the words to this hymn. It is interesting to note, according to an unsubstantiated source, Toplady was inspired to write the lyrics when he took shelter from a storm under a rocky overhang near England’s Cheddar Gorge.
Third, Our Rock is a sure foundation. It is a place to build upon. It is the resting-place of faith and hope. There trust finds its full assurance as it leans upon the promise, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. . . .” (See John 3:36). There hope anchors all its cables as it commits all its destinies, its affections and its treasures to this immoveable Rock and cries, “. . . .I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (See 2 Timothy 1:12). The mountains will depart and the hills will be removed, but Our Rock will remain unshaken and immovable throughout the ages.
I would like to close this treatise with two last thoughts that I would like to leave with you about Our Rock. First, from the sermons and writings of Bruce R. McConkie:
If we build our house of salvation on the rock of personal revelation; if we build it on the revealed reality that Jesus is the Lord; if we build it on him who is the eternal rock – it will stand forever. If we are guided by the spirit of inspiration while here in mortality, we will be able to withstand all the floods and storms that beat upon us.
If we are founded upon a rock, we worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost.If we are founded upon a rock, we know that salvation comes by the grace of God to those who believe the gospel and keep the commandments. If we are founded upon a rock, we forsake the world, flee from the carnal things, and live upright and Godly lives.
If we are founded upon a rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. As long as we remain in our house of faith we shall be preserved when the rains of evil fall, when the winds of false doctrine blow, and when the floods of carnality beat upon us.
[From The Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie, Part 2: The Mission of the Holy Ghost, “Chapter 6: The Holy Ghost Reveals Christ”]
Second, from the pages of Scripture found in Helaman 5:12:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
I leave these things with you and say these things unto you in the name of the One who is my Redeemer, my Rock – the Rock Eternal – the Rock of all ages – even Jesus the Christ. Amen.