Theme: Rock of Ages
In this week’s lessons we see how the second part of Psalm 18 builds upon the first part, and how Paul uses it to refer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Psalm 18:25-50
And here is one link more, which brings us back to where we started. The dominant theme of Psalm 18 is that God is our Rock. In the first study, I pointed out that this means that he is a shelter beside which we can be protected and prosper, a fortress into which we can run and be safe, a firm foundation upon which our shaking feet can stand and upon which we can build. But I remember also the way in which the great eighteenth century preacher and songwriter Augustus M. Toplady (1740-1778) handled it in the hymn “Rock of Ages,” which has since become one of the best known hymns in our language. Toplady was traveling in the country when a storm came upon him and he was forced to take shelter in the cleft of a great rock. While he was waiting for the storm to pass he reflected on the situation spiritually, and the words of a hymn began to form in his mind. Looking down at his feet, he discovered a playing card that someone who had been their earlier had dropped, which he then picked up and used to record these words.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,Let me hide myself in thee;Let the water and the blood,From thy riven side which flowed,Be of sin the double cure,Cleanse me from its guilt and power.Rock of Ages, cleft for me,Let me hide myself in thee.
We do not know how much of Christ’s future work his lesser ancestor, King David, foresaw. But we, who stand on this side of the cross, know what Jesus Christ did. We know that he was smitten for us, crucified, that we might be saved from sin and protected from all harm. Are you “in him”? Are you sheltered in the cleft of that Rock? If you are, you can sing David’s song with full reference to the cross and resurrection: “The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!”
How does the conclusion of the psalm fit with the beginning? What does that structure accomplish in terms of the psalm’s theme?
Review the ideas that are associated with the Lord being referred to as our rock.
Application: What does this psalm teach you about God and his ways? How does that help you in your occasions of prayer and praise?
For Further Study: Daniel also speaks of a rock that strikes all the kingdoms of the earth. Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Rock of Ages.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)