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Chapter 8. The Rock

God is our Rock. He is our refuge and our firm foundation. As Moses drew water from the rock in the desert, Jesus gives us Living Water for eternity. Jesus, the stone rejected by the builders is the Cornerstone, the Rock of our salvation. Jesus called Simon son of John, "Cephas" (Jn 1:42) or Peter, to be the rock upon which He built His Church. May God bless our Holy Father the Pope and all the Church. May the Church continue to do the work of Christ upon the earth. May God bless our homes and cities that we may dwell upon His sure foundation.

The Kingdom of God is the "pearl of great price" (Mt 13:45). Hidden within the oyster shell, the pearl awaits its discovery and purchase. How can we purchase this perfect, priceless pearl today? God loves those of a humble spirit. May we offer our daily sacrifice of prayer, fasting, and good works. We can become better aware of God's Presence and pray at all times, morning, noon, evening, and night. We can fast from sin and selfishness, from complaining and being overly critical. We can fast from dark deeds and put on the armor of light Christ Himself. We can serve others at home, work, and in our towns and cities.

Jesus calls us the "salt of the earth" (Mt 5:13). In our conversations and activities, do we add just the right kind and amount of seasoning? Do we think before writing? Do we listen before speaking? Do we wait before criticizing? Do we offer generous amounts of praise and thanksgiving? Or do we wait until it is too late to do so? May we provide the right salt to season our relationships in our families, work, and communities.

May we be the "living stones" (1 Pt 2:5) that build up and support the Church. May we be steadfast in our commitment as Jesus, the Rock. We share the "sign of peace." Human chains are made up of clasped hands and linked arms. Likewise, together may all of us living stones fitted together form a beautiful structure, the Church, the Kingdom of God here on earth, a kingdom of love, justice and peace.


Exodus 17:6 (NIV)

"...I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.


Exodus 33:21–22

There is a rock not far from me. Stand beside it, and before I pass by in all of my shining glory, I will put you in a large crack in the rock. I will cover your eyes with my hand until I have passed by.


Deuteronomy 8:8–9, 15

You can dig for copper in those hills, and the stones are made of iron ore. And you won't go hungry. Wheat and barley fields are everywhere, and so are vineyards and orchards full of fig, pomegranate, and olive trees, and there is plenty of honey. Remember how he led you in that huge and frightening desert where poisonous snakes and scorpions live. There was no water, but the LORD split open a rock, and water poured out so you could drink.


Deuteronomy 32:4, 13

The LORD is a mighty rock, and he never does wrong. God can always be trusted to bring justice. Your fields were rich with grain. Olive trees grew in your stony soil, and honey was found among the rocks.


2 Samuel 22:2–3

Our LORD and our God, you are my mighty rock, my fortress, my protector. You are the rock where I am safe. You are my shield, my powerful weapon, and my place of shelter. You rescue me and keep me from being hurt.


2 Samuel 22:32, 47

You alone are God! Only you are a mighty rock. You are the living LORD! I will praise you! You are a mighty rock. I will honor you for keeping me safe.


1 Kings 19:11

"Go out and stand on the mountain," the LORD replied. "I want you to see me when I pass by." All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the LORD was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.


Nehemiah 9:15

When they were hungry, you sent bread from heaven, and when they were thirsty, you let water flow from a rock. Then you commanded them to capture the land that you had solemnly promised.


Job 39:28 (NIV)

He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is his stronghold.


Psalm 18:2, 31, 46

You are my mighty rock,

my fortress, my protector,

the rock where I am safe,

my shield,

my powerful weapon,

and my place of shelter.

You alone are God!

Only you are a mighty rock.

You are the living LORD!

I will praise you.

You are a mighty rock.

I will honor you

for keeping me safe.


Psalm 19:14

Let my words and my thoughts

be pleasing to you, LORD,

because you are my mighty rock

and my protector.


Psalm 27:5

In times of trouble,

you will protect me.

You will hide me in your tent

and keep me safe

on top of a mighty rock.


Psalm 28:1

Only you, LORD,

are a mighty rock!

Don't refuse to help me

when I pray.

If you don't answer me,

I will soon be dead.


Psalm 31:2–3

Listen to my prayer

and hurry to save me.

Be my mighty rock

and the fortress

where I am safe.

You, LORD God,

are my mighty rock

and my fortress.

Lead me and guide me,

so that your name

will be honored.


Psalm 40:2

... and pulled me

from a lonely pit

full of mud and mire.

You let me stand on a rock

with my feet firm ...


Psalm 42:9

You are my mighty rock.

Why have you forgotten me?

Why must enemies mistreat me

and make me sad?


Psalm 61:2

I feel hopeless,

and I cry out to you

from a faraway land.

Lead me to the mighty rock

high above me.


Psalm 62:2, 7

God alone is the mighty rock

that keeps me safe

and the fortress

where I am secure.

God saves me and honors me.

He is that mighty rock

where I find safety.


Psalm 78:15–16

God made water flow

from rocks

he split open

in the desert,

and his people drank freely,

as though from a lake.

He made streams gush out

like rivers from rocks.


Psalm 78:35

They remembered God Most High,

the mighty rock

that kept them safe.


Psalm 81:16 (NIV)

"...But you would be fed

with the finest of wheat;

with honey from the rock

I would satisfy you."


Psalm 94:22

You, LORD God, are my fortress,

that mighty rock

where I am safe.


Psalm 95:1

Sing joyful songs to the LORD!

Praise the mighty rock

where we are safe.


Psalm 105:41

God even split open a rock,

and streams of water

gushed into the desert.


Psalm 114:8

... because he turns solid rock

into flowing streams

and pools of water.


Song of Solomon 2:14

You are my dove

hiding among the rocks

on the side of a cliff.

Let me see how lovely you are!

Let me hear the sound

of your melodious voice.


Isaiah 2:10, 19

Every one of you, go hide among the rocks and in the ground, because the LORD is fearsome, marvelous, and glorious. You had better hide in caves and holes—the LORD will be fearsome, marvelous, and glorious when he comes to terrify people on earth.


Isaiah 8:14 (NIV)

... and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.


Isaiah 26:4

So always trust the LORD because he is forever our mighty rock.


Isaiah 32:2

They will be a place of safety from stormy winds, a stream in the desert, and a rock that gives shade from the heat of the sun.


Isaiah 44:8

Don't tremble with fear! Didn't I tell you long ago? Didn't you hear me? I alone am God—no one else is a mighty rock.


Isaiah 48:21

He led us through the desert and made water flow from a rock to satisfy our thirst.


Isaiah 51:1

If you want to do right and obey the LORD, follow Abraham's example. He was the rock from which you were chipped.


Jeremiah 23:29

My words are a powerful fire; they are a hammer that shatters rocks.


Daniel 2:34–35

As you watched, a stone was cut from a mountain—but not by human hands. The stone struck the feet, completely shattering the iron and clay. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed and blown away without a trace, like husks of wheat at threshing time. But the stone became a tremendous mountain that covered the entire earth.


Zechariah 12:3

But I will turn Jerusalem into a heavy stone that crushes anyone who tries to lift it. When all nations on earth surround Jerusalem,


Matthew 7:24–25

Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.


Matthew 16:18

So I will call you Peter, which means "a rock." On this rock I will build my church, and death itself will not have any power over it.


Matthew 27:51

At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and rocks split apart.


Matthew 27:60

Then Joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. He rolled a big stone against the entrance to the tomb and went away.


Luke 8:6

Other seeds fell on rocky ground and started growing. But the plants did not have enough water and soon dried up.


Luke 8:13

The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the people who gladly hear the message and accept it. But they don't have deep roots, and they believe only for a little while. As soon as life gets hard, they give up.


Romans 9:33

... just as God says in the Scriptures, "Look! I am placing in Zion a stone to make people stumble and fall. But those who have faith in that one will never be disappointed."


1 Corinthians 10:4

... and drank the same spiritual drink, which flowed from the spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was Christ.


1 Peter 2:8

They disobeyed the message and stumbled and fell over that stone, because they were doomed.


Revelation 6:15–16

The kings of the earth, its famous people, and its military leaders hid in caves or behind rocks on the mountains. They hid there together with the rich and the powerful and with all the slaves and free people. Then they shouted to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us! Hide us from the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb..."


Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in thee.

—Augustus Montague Toplady (1740–1778). Rock of Ages [1775], st. 1.


The lichen on the rocks is a rude and simple shield which beginning and imperfect Nature suspended there. Still hangs her wrinkled trophy.

—Henry David Thoreau. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers [1849], in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 265, Houghton Mifflin (1906).


When I am finishing a picture I hold some God-made object up to it—a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand—as a kind of final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there’s a clash between the two, it is bad art.

—Marc Chagall (1889–1985). Saturday Evening Post (New York, 2 December 1962). Permission granted: Used with permission of The Saturday Evening Post Society c 1962 (Renewed).


When we are humbled in spirit and recognize ourselves as servants of God and one another, we are like the rocks of this earth, which despite their hardness are subject to change. The forces of the earth, pressure and heat, wind and water erosion affect rocks. The parent material from broken, crushed, and eroded rocks is the foundation for mineral soils, sand, silt, clay, and sea salts. May we allow God—the Eternal Rock to change us and mold us into His instruments of peace, love, and hope. He can melt our "hearts of stone."

Chimney Bluffs on Lake Ontario, New York.


(C) 2002 by Anthony R. Brach.