Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Psalm 27: On Christ the Solid Rock

"...he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon on rock." (v5b)

We all look for it. We all refuse to live without it. We all think we've found it, but it can only really be found one place. What is it that I'm talking about? Well, here it is; every human being is on a search somehow someway to find that solid rock on which to stand. That one thing that they can bank on. That one thing that will keep them upright when the storms of life are raging. That one thing that will remain firm for the duration. That one thing that will give them security when nothing else does. That one thing that will give them that deep and abiding inner sense of well-being that every rational human being desires. That one thing that gives you the courage to face what you otherwise wouldn't want to face. That one thing that you can rely on. That one thing that will keep you safe. Everyone is searching for that solid rock.

No human being enjoys feeling that they're living in the sinking sand of unpredictability, disappointment, and danger, with no rock to reach for and stand on. In fact, this quest, this desire for surety which is with us everyday, points us again and again to the reality of God's existence and our identity as his creatures, his image bearers. We aren't hardwired to live by instinct. Like God, we're in possession of thoughts, desires, and emotions. Like God, we're beings of vision and purpose. Like God, we're spiritual beings. As people made in his likeness, we long for our hearts to be satisfied and our minds at rest. We think, analyze, and wonder. We toss our lives over and over again in our hearts, trying our best to make sense of the mystery of our own story and recognizing the scary reality that there's little that we're actually in charge of. In our honest moments, we know that we couldn't have written ourselves into the situations, locations, and relationships that make up our daily lives. We couldn't have written the story of even one day. Yet, we long for our lives to make sense. We long to have meaning and purpose, and we long to have lasting stability.

The problem is, that the longer we live, the more we know that there's little around us in this fallen world that's truly stable. I have a wonderful marriage to a lady who in many ways is my hero, but our marriage is still marred by our sin and this reality still introduces pain and unpredictability into a relationship we've been working on for 37 years! You may think your job is a source of stability, but a bit of a turn in the global economy could have you out on the street in a relatively short period of time. It may seem that your material possessions are permanent, but every physical thing that exists is in a state of decay and even in their greatest longevity they don't have the ability to quiet your heart.

So here's the dilemma of your humanity. You're clearly not in control of the details or destiny of your life, yet as a rational, purposeful, emotional being, you cry for a deep and abiding sense of well-being. In your quest, what you're actually discovering is that you were hardwired to be connected to Another. You weren't hardwired to walk the pathway of life all by yourself. You weren't hardwired to be independently okay. You weren't hardwired to produce in yourself a system of experiences, relationships, and conclusions that would give you rest. You were designed to only find your "solid rock" in a dependent, loving worshipful relationship with Another. In this way, every human being is on a quest for God; the problem is we don't know that, and in our quest for stability, we attempt to stand on an endless catalog of God-replacements that end up sinking with us.

In fact, our inability to find security for ourselves is so profound that we'd never find the One who is to be our Rock on our own, no he must find us. The language of Psalm 27 is quite precise here, "he will...set me high upon a rock." It doesn't say, "I will find the rock and I will climb up on it."

Here's the hope for every weary traveler whose feet are tired of the slippery instability of mud of a fallen world. Your weariness is a signpost. It's meant to cause you to cry out for help. It's meant to cause you to quit looking for your stability horizontally and begin to cry out for it vertically. It's meant to put an end to your belief that situations, people, locations, possessions, positions, or answers will satisfy the longing of your heart. Your weariness is meant to drive you to God. He's the Rock for which you're longing. He's the one who alone is able to give to you the sense that all is well. And as you abandon your hope in the mirage rocks of this fallen world, and begin to hunger for the True Rock, he'll reach out and place you on solid ground.

There is a Rock to be found. There is an inner rest to be experienced that's deeper than conceptual understanding, human love, personal success, and the accumulation of possessions. There is a rock that will give you rest even when all of those things have been taken away. That rock is Christ and you were hardwired to find what you are seeking in him. In his grace, he won't play hide and seek with you. In your weakness and weariness, cry out to him. He will find you and he will be your Rock.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."


At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, I appreciate you ministry - HUGE !!!!!!!!!! I have been going through a separation from my husband. After 26 years of marriage he announced he never loved me and wanted out. It has been 2 years now, and your book Lost in the Middle was part of my healing. I have enjoy many of your books. John Piper's ministry has also shown me the Glory of God and my purpose here.
Thanks for letting me know the universe is not about me. I know, it is about you. barb

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