Is God Your Rock?
Written by David, Psalm 28 teaches us to exalt God as a rock on which our souls must anchor. It reveals the King of Israel’s attitude of dependence on God. In verse 1 David said, “To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.”
The term “rock” is used in the Bible in more than one sense. We read in Numbers 23:9 of God saying to Moses, "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” The rock spoken of here is a rocky hill or mountain. Also, a stone large enough to serve as an altar is referred to as a rock (Judges 6:21). Another interesting referent for a rock is the foundation of a house. In ancient time, the cornerstone of a house, or any other similar structure, usually was a rock. This practice was common in Jesus’ day, hence the Lord used it to illustrate a point He made in Matthew 7:24 when He said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock…”
The representation of God as a rock is to be looked at in the context of figurative language. David was not trying to portray God as cold and insensitive, two properties characteristic of the lifelessness of a rock. It’s true, his plea in verse 1 may leave the reader with the impression that God is capable of turning away from the petitioner and leave him in painful suspense. However, the idea in the use of the word “rock” is that of the immutability of God (Hebrews 6:17-18). God’s benevolent nature and good counsel are unchangeable.
While the psalmist had God in view in this description, he said something about himself too. He was an example of someone who relied on God’s help. He did not content himself with remembering the victories he had had in the past with the help of God, but he fundamentally believed that the ability and willingness of God to help is inherent to His nature (Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 23:1-6). God’s aid may take the form of the strength He provides one with that enables them to hold on and struggle on during trial or temptation.
We don’t know much about the trouble David was in as it’s not specified, but it is clear the psalm was written on a joyous occasion. It likely was composed “on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (2 Samuel 22:1). Enemies who sought his life had not prevailed thanks to God, and he now poured out his heart in gratitude to God for rescuing him. One of the most formidable of his foes was King Saul who, moved with jealousy because of his military abilities, sought to kill him.
A subsequent leading idea concerns the fact that David was under the power of temptation. Some people who practiced iniquity and whom he identified as “the wicked” had the potential to allure him into their company. David was so conscious of the danger of such association that he said in Psalm 1:1, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful”.
The wicked may be those who deliberately ignore the evidence of the existence of God. Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'” What is in the Old Testament, in this regard, is in the New Testament too. The Apostle Paul spoke of some individuals in the first century who dismissed “what may be known of God… for God has shown it to them… His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” (Rom. 1:18-20). The wicked also are scores of people who ridicule the goodness of God the way the Greek philosopher Epicurus did. Epicurus was once quoted by Lactantius, a so-called Christian apologist of the fourth century, as follows, “God either wishes to take away evils and is unable; or he is able and unwilling or he is neither willing nor able…”.
The wicked could be the persons that love sin and thrive in it. Matthew spoke of them in these terms, “The people who sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” (Matthew 4:16).
In the Christian era, the manifestations of the drifting of God’s people into the company of the wicked vary. They range from believing another gospel (Galatians 1: 6), denying the resurrection of the dead (2 Timothy 2:17), becoming more interested in the things of the flesh and less in spiritual matters (Galatians 6:8), being “choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life” (Luke 8:14; 1 John 2:16), etc.
But Jesus’ exhortation to build one’s house on the rock so that it will stand to floods and winds, as opposed to the house whose foundation is the sand, should impress upon our minds and hearts. It should encourage us to depend on Christ for protection or deliverance from all life adverse circumstances (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 10:13). It should help us hold on to Him when trials become storms. Can you say, like David, that God is your rock?