1 I take refuge in you, Lord.
Please never let me be put to shame.
Rescue me by your righteousness!
2 Listen closely to me!
Deliver me quickly;
be a rock that protects me;
be a strong fortress that saves me!
3 You are definitely my rock and my fortress.
Guide me and lead me for the sake of your good name!
4 Get me out of this net that’s been set for me
because you are my protective fortress.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hands;
you, Lord, God of faithfulness—
you have saved me.
If you read all of Psalm 31, you will hear a person who is both pleading with God for salvation, as well as then showing steadfast faith. Within these few verses, the psalmist’s feelings wax and wane from begging for help to the certainty of knowing God’s strength and resolve. Within so many psalms, there is both human questioning and commitment, as well as joy and sadness, and often mixed with celebration.
For me, the psalms speak to the intense range of all human emotions. The psalms are testimony to the changing nature of God’s people, but also the surety that there is a God who knows our fickle natures, but loves us anyway. So when I read the psalmist comparing Our God to a “rock” or a “fortress”, I have to smile at the metaphor of God’s unwavering strength. Can anything be stronger than a rock? Types of rock aside, we know rocks are still what people use to build foundations because of their stability. The firmness of rocks or earth are what people continue to look for in establishing buildings and to create communities.
From the Bible, we also know that rocks were used to build altars and the strongest rocks were also used as the cornerstone (which is also a metaphor for God). Furthermore, God had Moses chisel the commandments onto rocks and God also told Moses which rock to strike to find water. Lastly, Jesus declared Simon Peter the rock on which he’d build the church. (See Matthew 16:18.)
On so many levels, the metaphor of a rock for God’s strength and God’s love and commitment to us works. Perhaps it is God’s ability to be the stable one in this relationship that we so desperately need. God is our firm foundation. When the world shifts, God’s love and commitment remains present and unwavering.
As for me, my ways may not be sure. My thoughts and feelings may not always be sound, but I know the One who is. My Rock and my Redeemer is the steady one. God is the one who stands firm for the both of us. It is God’s faithfulness that never shifts, even when all around feels like sinking sand.
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
The metaphor for a rock is just one of many for God. Which metaphor for God do you most enjoy? Why?
Prayer: Steadfast Lord, you are my rock and my salvation. When life seems to be shifting, I know I can trust you to be there for me. I know that you are the steady one in this relationship. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to me. Amen.