“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
- Matthew 7:24-29
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
- Matthew 16:15-20
“’If that old rock could talk, it could tell some awfully interesting stories,’ said my Dad as we visited on the front porch of the farmhouse.
“The rock to which he referred was a big, almost square rock which stands by the center of the front porch of the farmhouse where he and Mama reared 12 children. …
“Now almost blind and becoming increasingly confused and disoriented, he sometimes thought his house was not the same one in which he had lived for over 60 years. When he would get confused about this, he would say, ‘If this is my house there is supposed to be a big rock right by the front porch.’
“Just as Dad’s life had become centered around this earthly rock, our lives must be centered around Jesus Christ, the Solid Rock. As our ‘rock,’ Jesus offers us hope that He can be depended upon. What a secure foundation for abundant living! Are you depending on that security?”
- Nelda Jones, devotion entitled ‘The Rock’ found in God’s Abundance, edited by Kathy Collard Miller
When you type ‘The Rock’ into a search engine, you get tons of information on Dwayne Johnson. This post is not about him.
When I wrote about eating dirt earlier this week, I had a purpose in doing so, to determine what type of soil that I had to work with. That would determine, in order to build something on the soil, whether the soil needed to be removed or what type of preparation would be necessary. The eating dirt was a legitimate test. Actually, it was tasting dirt. I did not swallow. In the discussion before telling my story, I mentioned the first Scripture above. Building on solid rock is a wise move. Note: There is practically no true solid rock in SW Pennsylvania. There is rock everywhere, but beneath many homes there is a mineshaft somewhere.
According to a preacher not long ago, the second Scripture is misunderstood by many. He stated that Simon was renamed Peter, but Peter was not the ‘rock.’ The rock was the statement Peter made that Jesus was the Messiah. It was the faith in Jesus as Messiah that would be the rock that the church would use as its foundation.
I don’t know if the preacher had interpreted this Scripture accurately as to Jesus’ intended use of the metaphor, but our faith in Jesus as the Messiah is the bedrock upon which we stand firm. Jesus is the Promised One. Jesus is the one who has crushed the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). In Jesus Christ, we have the victory over death. Jesus is God.
That is our rock. That is our foundation.
In Nelda Jones’ story, she talked about how much of her life and the lives of others occurred on the rock near the center of the front porch. It was the focal point of their lives. Generations of people stepped on the rock to gain entry to the house. It was sat upon. It was used as a work surface. Late in life, her father, who had originally dug up the rock and moved it to that location, was assured of his security once he could see and touch the rock.
She went on to say that her Dad might not know the song, “I Go to the Rock” by Dottie Rambo, but he could relate to it.
We each have our earthly rocks. I once collected them. Our yard in South Carolina was infested by river-washed stones, even though we lived on a hill. I dug them out of the yard for years, trying to make the yard safe for the boys to play and less trouble for getting grass to grow. I saved one stone that was the size of a rugby ball and roughly the same shape . That started the ‘collection’ that has since disappeared. Our neighbors in Pennsylvania thought they had better need of our rocks. Our collection had included lava from a volcano in the western US, a chunk of granite from the sculpting of the Crazy Horse statue in South Dakota, and smaller stones from where we lived in Mississippi and Washington state. None of these stones were large enough on which to build a house. They each simply brought back memories.
Yet, Jesus brings a sense of security. He is the Rock. He is there for us, and He cares for us.
As Dottie Rambo wrote:
Where do I go when there’s nobody else to turn to?
Who do I talk to when nobody wants to listen?
Who do I lean on when there’s no foundation stable?
I go to the rock
I know he’s able
I go to the rock
I go to the rock for my salvation
I go to the stone that the builders rejected
I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me
When the Earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ, the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter, when I need a friend
I go to the rock.
- Dottie Rambo, I Go to the Rock
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.