Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Rock of Gibraltar

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4

Standing as a guardian over the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, the Rock of Gibraltar is a world-famous landmark. Its white limestone cliffs stand in stark contrast to the blue sea and sky around it. Jutting out off the southern coast of Spain, it stands 1,396 feet above sea level. The Greeks called it a “Pillar of Hercules.” The Phoenicians believed it marked the end of the known world. Its very name invokes an image of strength and endurance. When people want to describe a friend who demonstrates those characteristics, they call him “The Rock of Gibraltar.”

Isaiah used a rock as a metaphor to try to paint a picture of the enduring faithfulness of our God. Like the mammoth cliffs of Gibraltar, God is unmoving and unshakable. In chapter 25, Isaiah had just finished describing the deliverance that God had promised His people. He had prophesied: “On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, and the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. . . In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and He saved us.’”

The people knew that God had unconditionally promised Abraham many generations earlier that He would take care of His people. Now here God was, centuries later, reminding them He would unfailingly fulfill His promise. When God makes a promise, you can stake your life on it. The Israelites knew this and rejoiced. So they called Him a Rock.

The verse at the top of this blog describes the man who has thrown his lot in with the promises of God. He is in perfect peace. If you translate that Hebrew phrase literally, it reads “Peace, peace.” (In Hebrew, word repetition is often used to emphasize something. You probably remember reading “Holy, holy, holy” in Isaiah 6. It is the only word in the Bible repeated three times like that. If we remember nothing else about Him, God wanted us to know this: He is holy.) In Isaiah 26:3, the word for peace, shalom, is a word which carries the idea of completeness. Every part of who we are is in total harmony with the will of God when we have shalom. Now think of this completeness times two: shalom, shalom. And that is what the man has who trusts in the Lord.

There will always be things in our lives that drive us to our knees. God deliberately places them there so that we will not become independent and abandon our relationship with Him. When we need Him, we seek Him. And as the winds of challenge in our life buffet us, we find ourselves clinging to the face of the cliff. Its solid surface reassures us and gives us a place to hide. He is the Rock who will not be moved. And the man who trusts in Him has perfect peace.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

7 comments:

Christina said...

Hi Julie!

Thank you for sharing this blog! What Truth you have shed light on and I appreciate your steadfastness in Him! May He continue to bless you "exceedingly abundantly above all that which you could ask, think, or imagine." God bless you :)

Christina said...

Hi Julie!

Thank you for sharing this blog! What Truth you have shed light on and I appreciate your steadfastness in Him! May He continue to bless you "exceedingly abundantly above all that which you could ask, think, or imagine." God bless you :)

Christina said...

Hi Julie!

Thank you for sharing such profound Truth! May God continue to bless you "exceedingly abundantly above all that which you could ask or think or imagine" for your faithfulness and steadfastness in Him! God bless you, Sister :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your complete wisdom this has giving me much insight on what is good: May God continue to use you for his empowerment...Joe Bereal

Joe Bereal said...

Thank you for your complete wisdom this has giving me much insight on what is good: May God continue to use you for his empowerment...Joe Bereal

Joe said...

Hey!

I came hear looking for some biblical history about the Rock, and that's what I found.

Thanks very much.

Catherine said...

Thanks Julie for posting this... I really enjoyed reading and feeding my soul... God Bless you...