“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” (V.4)
Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord God of Israel is referred to as a rock. The word rock is used 24 times in the Psalms alone to refer to God. It is in this context that we need to meditate on the words of the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading. To understand the meaning of this attribute rock, we need to understand its Old Testament context. As the Israelites continue their journey through the wilderness into the land of Canaan, God causes water to come out of a rock for the thirsty people (Ex.17). This spring has became a source of survival in the desert. In ancient cultures, water was considered the source of life. In the book of Genesis we read that “the spirit of God was moving above the waters” (Genesis 1: 2). They sang of the God who gave them water in the desert as the fountain of life, the giver of everything. Later we see that Moses sees God under the cover of a rock. God places him behind the rock so that Moses does not die at the vision of the countenance of God. Moreover, they sought refuge in large cliffs, behind rocks to escape attacks of the enemy during war. So they began to praise Yahweh as the rock of their salvation who protects them from death. “My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.” (2 Samuel 22: 3). (See also Ps.144: 2, 18: 2, Jer.16: 19, Isa.26: 4 etc.).
The word rock also refers to the nature of God. God is as firm as a rock in his covenant. He is faithful to His promises even when people break His covenant and turn away from Him. Remember that the prophet Isaiah spoke of God whose love is greater than that of a mother (Isaiah 49:15; Ps. 27:10). “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed” (Isaiah 54:10).
Christ is described as the cornerstone of the Church as as we read the New Testament. “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20). “They all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10: 4). Today’s reading invites us to build a house on the rock of Christ. Today let us meditate on the unwavering love, mercy, and faithfulness of God who is our refuge and life-giver.