This week, we will be looking at what it means to trust in and rely on our immovable Rock. The Lord Jesus Christ who is the foundation of our church and faith, the rock and fortress to whom we can run in times of trouble. He will not be moved nor shaken… He will stand firm and in Him, we are to stand firm. Shall we take a look at what this name means:
Hebrew Strong’s Number:
Translated in the KJV: strength
Hebrew Word: צוּר
Cross Reference: TWOT – 1901
Part of Speech: n m
Vine’s Words: Rock
English Words used in KJV: rock 64 strength 5 sharp 2 God 2 beauty 1 edge 1 stones 1 mighty One 1 strong 1 [Total Count: 78]
or tsur, tsoor; from (tsuwr); properly a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally a rock or boulder; figurative a refuge; also an edge (as precipitous) :- edge, × (mighty) God (one), rock, × sharp, stone, × strength, × strong. See also (Beyth Tsuwr).
The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, Victor Books, Walvoord and Zuck, p. 895 contains the following commentary on the first four verses of Psalm 144:
After blessing God for glorious deliverances in past battles, and marveling that God took note of perishing people, King David prayed for divine intervention in combat. He expressed confidence that because the Lord gives victory the nation would experience peace and prosperity.
A. Blessing for past victories (144:1-2)
144:1-2. David praised the LORD for having subdued people under him. In this praise he used several expressions to portray the fact that the Lord enabled him to win victories. The Lord had taught him how to fight, and God was his Rock (cf. 18:46; also note 18:2), his Fortress (mesûdâh; cf. 18:3; 31:3; 71;3; 91;2), his Stronghold (miśgob; cf. 18:2; 40:17; 70:5; 140:7), and his Shield (cf. comments on 3:3). These all stress the protection and deliverance given David while God was solidifying the empire under him.
B. Prayer for divine intervention (144:3-11)
144:3-4. Having praised the nature of God. David then voiced his petition for victory in battle (vv. 3-11). the thought that God would subdue anyone under him caused him to marvel at the possibility of God’s intervention on man’s behalf (cf. comments on 8:4). Since man is like a vapor (hebel; cf. 39:5, 11; 62:9; and comments on Ecc. 1:2) that vanishes away and a shadow that is soon gone (cf. Job 8:9; Ps. 102:11) why would God stoop to help him?
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words contains this definition of Strong’s Reference # 6697, Nelson Publishers, Vine and White, p 208:
sûr (צוּר, 6697), “rock; rocky wall; cliff; rocky hill; mountain; rocky surface; boulder.” Cognates of this word appear in Amorite, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Aramaic. Other than in names of places and persons, the word appears 70 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.
First, sûr means “rocky wall” or “cliff.” This is probably what Moses struck in Exod. 17:6: “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it…” Thus God hid Moses in a cleft of the “rocky cliff” (Exod. 33:21-22).
Second, the word frequently means “rocky hill” or “mountains.” This emphasis clearly emerges in Isa. 2;10, 19: “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust… And [men] shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth…” Thus rock is an abbreviation for “caves of the rocks.” A lookout sees someone “from the top of the rocks [hills]…, from the hills” (Num. 23;9). The “rock” (mountains or hills) flowing with honey and oil figures the abundant overflowing blessing of God (Deut. 32:13). The “rock” (or mountain) serves as a figure of security (Ps. 61:2), firmness (Job 14:18), and something that endures (Job 19:24).
Third, sûr can mean “rocky ground” or perhaps a large flat “rock”: “And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock…” (2 Sam. 21:10; cf. Prov. 30:19).
Fourth, in some passages the word means “boulder,” in the sense of a rock large enough to serve as an altar. “…There rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes…” (Judg. 6:21).
“Rock” is frequently used to picture God’s support and defense of His people (Deut. 32:15). In some cases this noun is an epthet, or meaningful name, of God (Deut. 32:4), or of heathen gods: “For their rock [god] is not as our Rock [God}…” (Deut. 32:31).
Finally, Abraham is the source (rock) from which Israel was hewn. (Isa. 51:1).
Consider for a moment the definitions and commentary we’ve examined. The high rocky places in battle were places of advantage. A place where assaults of arrows were made, lookouts were placed and they were safe havens. A place to take refuge and run to when being pursued. All of these things represent a saving aspect.
The rock is not only a safe place, but a foundation. A strong, solid place to rest and to reside. It lends strength and stability. All of Scripture points to Jesus as the Rock, the Capstone, the Stone that the builders rejected. He is and was and is to come again!
Jesus is our solid place of rest, refuge and the stability of our lives. In Psalm 144 David expressed his certainty that the Lord had given Israel the victory and that because of God’s favor their nation would experience peace and prosperity. Jesus is our source of protection, victory, peace and prosperity. We can count on Him, rely on Him and trust in Him in every way. He is our Rock.
Now, shall we look to Scripture and give us an opportunity to consider more of who God is to us as Yahweh Tsuri:
David recognized the all encompassing power and ability of God to secure not only the victory but his future as well. He found God to be immovable, indestructible, protective and redemptive, a safe place for retreat and a fortress in battle. He knew God would save Him, deliver the victory and the blessings He had promised in anointing David as King.
God would bring righteous judgment against the wickedness of the people and their suffering would remind them of their need of God. They remembered Him as their refuge, cried out to Him, and sought His deliverance. However, when He delivered them from their affliction they returned to their wickedness and only honored God in their words not with their lives.
From their history, we learn to be very careful when claiming the promises of God and calling upon Him by name that our hearts are pure before Him — our motives true. We must come in repentance over what our sin and our wickedness costs God. He has gone to the greatest of extremes to deliver us from our oppression and the assaults of our enemies. It cost Him His Son. He paid the price and we owe Him more than lip service. We out of gratitude for His mercy should surrender nothing less than our whole lives to Him and His glory. His will be done.
This is an everlasting covenant – the outline and summary of the Davidic covenant. God’s promise to love, protect and endure the line of David eternally. It reflects the personal relationship that David had with God and all these promises would endure even if the people disobeyed. This promise, this covenant, completely and utterly fulfilled in the person and redemption that Christ gave us through His death and resurrection. He successfully and for all time granted favor to David and bore the Son of God through his royal line. A line related to the priestly line – making Jesus both Priest and King. (Remember, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who married the priest, Zechariah, who ministered before the Lord in the Holy of Holies.)
A beautiful picture of Christ as the gate by which we enter into the presence of God. The answer to our prayers and need of salvation. He is the stone that the “builders” rejected. They looked at it in its unhewn state and saw only a rock, but God saw the foundation and the strength of His eternal covenant – hewn by promise through Abraham, Moses and David and extended to all nations through His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. These are the days of our Lord in whom we should rejoice and be glad. He has come and is coming again. We look ahead with assurance and hope in our hearts to the Kingdom promised and the Kingdom which is at hand.
Habakkuk begins the book bearing his name with a complaint. He sees the wickedness around him and God’s apparent inactivity. He calls out to The Lord who is the Rock. The immovable, delivering force that can bring justice and righteousness to the land once again.
And, Jesus, Himself confirms this promise, this covenant Rock that God delivered to Israel through Virgin birth and a King who rides in to usher in the covenant of peace – not war. God delivered the victory for Israel and they rejected Him as something other than God.
The Rock, the Capstone of God’s Church, Jesus Christ stood rejected by the leaders and nation of Israel. Still, He declared His redemption by His apostle, Peter. Who became the rock (petra, lit. chip off the larger rock) upon which Christ built His holy church. Peter suffered many trials and persecutions because of his relationship with Christ. A relationship born of suffering and trials – even in denial he somehow found the boldness and the strength to declare Jesus the Messiah, the Capstone prophesied in the Psalms.
Peter’s assurance and faith grew so that in his epistle, he writes at length of Christ as the Cornerstone – the Living stone. The mark of our faith. As you read today’s Weighing the Word passage from 1 Peter Chapter 2 – consider fully the call for us to live on in His remarkable legacy – living stones in the body of Christ.
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit,
hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4 As you come to him, the living Stone–
rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him–
5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable
to God through Jesus Christ.
6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.
But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,
8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock
that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey
the message–which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of him who called
you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that,
though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may
see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every
authority instituted among men: whether to the king,
as the supreme authority,
14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish
those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.
15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should
silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom
as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
17 Show proper respect to everyone:
Love the brotherhood of believers,
fear God, honor the king.
18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters
with all respect, not only to those who are good
and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.
19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under
the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.
20 But how is it to your credit if you receive
a beating for doing wrong and endure it?
But if you suffer for doing good and
you endure it, this is commendable before God.
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you,
leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin, and no
deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate;
when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted
himself to him who judges justly.
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.
25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have
returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
(New International Version)