“Turn Your ear to me, rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a stronghold for my deliverance.” PSALM 31:3 TL
Where do you go when your world is being challenged from all sides? I know you have been there because you and I are not uniquely different and, trust me, I have spent a lot of time begging the above verse penned by the authors of Psalms. It is my signature plea to a timeless, Universal entity whom I name God. You may name yours by another name, but when we cast aside man’s theological philosophies there is just one who is the I AM.
I like the word phrasing, “rock of refuge.” It inspires in my mind a place, or state of consciousness, which is protected from the ravages of an insane world, a place where the intents of vile men cannot reach me, a sanctuary which can conceal me even from the evil which exists within. The rock is strong, impenetrable and secure. Amazingly, it does not erode with the forces of nature or the passage of time. On the contrary, it grows and becomes stronger.
And, it is a “stronghold for my deliverance.” As much as I would like to attribute all my factory defects to environment and circumstance, when I find that inner place of honesty and transparency, I realize that I need desperately to be delivered from myself and the character traits which make my personal world insane and unmanageable. “Turn you ear to me, rescue me quickly” from that which seeks to destroy me – anger, envy, greed, gluttony, pride, sloth, and lust.
Social injustice, poverty, oppression, national politics are also issues that can cause severe conflict if I don’t have a rock to sort everything and place priorities on those issues. Approaching wickedness and uncivility with a peaceable intervention does not imply a lack of conviction. I do not need to scream and rant to show the outside world that I am incensed by a corrupt political system. Jesus overturned the tax collectors’ tables efficiently and forcefully, but I don’t see in the Bible any accounts of screaming, violence, and profanity. Jesus also had that rock as his fortress and refuge. He had his personal inner conviction guiding his actions, but he relied on the strength of the rock whom he called Father.
Many people want to contradict the existence of a rock, they vehemently deny with substantial energy that God is not. That’s OK, I at one time was one of them. Stridently ridiculing those of faith and defying them to prove their faith was a hallmark of my youth. I was the intelligent one, they were the dupes.
Only when alcoholism forced me to my knees, did I decide to stay on my knees for a few moments longer and say a prayer, plead to the unfamiliar rock and fortress which I had ridiculed and discredited for many years. With no more arguments, nothing to lose, I was in desperate need of relief from myself and my atheism.
My church foundation as a young boy was based on old time preaching and music. We sang “ROCK OF AGES” probably every Sunday. “Rock of ages cleft for me.” It’s a stunning visual for lost souls – a fissure in a solid rock wall split to provide protection and comfort from the elements of our personal storms. Why would anyone not want to believe?