I’ve spent a lot of time in the Psalms these past couple of months, primarily because we are discussing the laments in the virtual support group I facilitate, but also because it’s what my own heart needs right now. I need the psalmist’s raw honesty to help me give voice to what’s going on in my own heart. I need to know I’m not alone in my feelings of loneliness, isolation, fear, disappointment, and sorrow. I need certainty in these uncertain times and the Psalms point me to what is true and unchanging.
As I thumb through the pages, there’s a repeated theme throughout the Psalms. Whether the psalmist is singing praise and thanksgiving or crying out in lament, there is an oft-repeated word or phrase he uses to describe who God is. The psalmist refers to God as his shelter and refuge. He describes God as a rock, a fortress, a stronghold.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18:2)
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
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. (Psalm 71:3).
In practical terms, a rock is a place to hide behind. Its clefts and caves provide shelter from beasts and storms and enemies. A rock is also a foundation upon which we stand or build. It is solid and sure. Rocks are used to build walls and fortresses to protect those within. A massive rock, like a mountain, is immovable; it stands firm through the fiercest storms and battles.
So it’s no wonder the Lord is referred to as a rock. It’s one of his many names found in Scripture: “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deut. 32:4). Used figuratively, this name reminds us that we can run to God when we are afraid. We can seek safety and security in him. He is our dwelling place (Deut. 33:27). He is our protector and refuge from the ferocious storms of life. He is our savior and rescuer. And while all around us is chaos, our God is unchanging and constant. Steadfast. Strong. Sure. Faithful. Everlasting.
It’s also no surprise that Christ is referred to as a rock as well. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 10:3 that Christ was Israel’s spiritual rock during their desert wanderings: “For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” Christ is also referred to as the cornerstone of the church. Just as a building’s cornerstone holds two walls together, Christ joins the church together (Ephesians 2:20). “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste’” (Isaiah 28:16).
Christ is the fulfillment of all God’s promises to be our rock and fortress. He is our true shelter and dwelling place. He is the answer to the psalmist’s cry for salvation and deliverance. He rescued us from sin and death. He united himself to us through faith in his life, death, and resurrection. He made us his own. He is our place of safety. Our refuge. Our strength. Our fortress.
We don’t have to go far to seek refuge in Christ, for he’s made us his dwelling place. His Spirit lives within us. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit who encourages our weary hearts, strengthens our faith, exhorts us when we sin, and transforms us more and more into the image of Christ. What an amazing thing to consider! When we need shelter and refuge, he is so near to us—just a prayer away!
This reminder has been such an encouragement to my heart during these uncertain times. Just dwelling on God as my rock settles my distracted mind. Knowing that Christ is my refuge and that he is always with me gives me hope. I pray it does for you as well.
Father in heaven, You are my rock. My shelter and place of safety. You are my firm foundation. You do not change. Nothing can move you. I thank you that in Christ, I am safe. He is my refuge and my fortress. Nothing and no one can snatch me from him. May these truths be my comfort and strength in these uncertain times. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Originally posted here.