Friday, March 6
Read Isaiah 26
Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. (v 4)
I AM A ROCK … OR AM I?
I want you to know I tried. I really tried. Once I knew the devotion theme dealt with various biblical uses of the word “rock,” I, a child of the ‘60s, could only think of one thing.
I tried to put it out of my mind, but the thought got stuck in there. Yes, it’s “I Am a Rock,” the Paul Simon classic first released in 1965, the year I graduated from high school, and then re-recorded by Simon & Garfunkel and released again in 1966. I tried to get it out of my mind, but I couldn’t. Surely the fact that it was wedged in there so tightly must mean that I could put it to good use. So let’s see, is there a connection between Isaiah’s rock and Paul Simon’s?
Chapter 26 of Isaiah, part of the writings of First Isaiah, takes place during a period of wars in the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. First Isaiah features words of judgment but then offers words of comfort and promise. Chapter 26 has its share of judgments: Fire consumes God’s adversaries, and enemies have been punished, even their memories destroyed.
But there is comfort, too: “Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.” A rock — something to depend on, something you can stand on, something that holds you up, something strong. These are the words of comfort that stand in contrast to the judgments we all feel life holds for us. God promises that you can count on God. Trust God, and God will hold you up, give you strength and be the rock in your life that you can depend on. God promises that, and God’s promises are for sure.
So how does Paul Simon’s rock relate to Isaiah’s rock? In the Simon song, the phrase “I am a rock” does not mean that I am strong and dependable as Isaiah’s rock is. It means the opposite. It’s an admission that I try to build walls around myself to keep out the hurts and sorrows of daily life. “A rock feels no pain,” as the song says.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. If only we didn’t build those walls and fortresses around ourselves and turned instead to the rock of Isaiah, really trusting God’s desire and ability to care for us, then we could know the joy and peace our faith can bring. We only need to remember the promise: “Trust in the Lord forever.”
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