Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Shadow of the Rock (part 1)

When Mr. H and I first got married we lived in Virginia. With both of us being from Mississippi, we were fascinated by the mountains. They were foreign and exotic. We took several weekend day-trips to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail. These are the only mountains that I am now familiar with, and they are not what I always imagined mountains to be. I thought a mountain was just a big pile of dirt. Not these mountains! These mountains are enormous rocks. They have a bit of dirt on the surface, but the dirt is not the mountain: the rock is the mountain. If you are on the sunny side of the mountain, you will get hot. But if you are on the shaded side of the mountain, it’s a different world. The air is cooler and feels moister... fresher. You can see because you’re not being blinded by the sun. In fact, all your senses can tell the difference. Not much can survive for long on the sunny side. No place to hide, no water, no shelter.

I did a word search on “rock.” In the Old Testament it usually it refers to 1 of 4 things: 1) the Lord Himself; 2) a literal hiding place (like when David hid from Saul; almost every Old Testament person who ever went into hiding, hid among the rocks); 3) the rock that Moses struck with his staff to bring water to the Israelites at Horeb; or 4) another specific rock as a place identifier.

Now I love puzzles, putting things together. When a piece doesn’t fit, it bugs the fire out of me. When I started looking at these rocks, some pieces just fit perfectly. The first is that God is our hiding place. He protects us from the burning fires of sin. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way:

Now, I take it that this is where we begin to know our Lord’s shadow. . . The way was (weary?), and the heat was great: our lips were parched, and our souls were fainting; we looked for shelter, and we found none. We were in the wilderness of sin and condemnation. . . --pg 19

Jesus is our Rock of Ages. Here's another quote from Charles Spurgeon's book:

The shadow of a rock is denser, cooler, and more complete than any other shade. Beams of sunlight cannot reach through the rock and into its shade, nor can the heat penetrate as it will sometimes do through the foliage of a forest. . . . Jesus is a complete shelter, and blessed are they who are under His shadow. -- pg 20
There are so many references to the Rock that I decided I'll look at them in the next post instead of making this one incredibly long.

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