Summary: If you want to make a way to anywhere be lasting, you make it with rocks. Jesus is the permanent way to God and eternal life, for He is the Rock of Ages. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
1776 was the year the United States of America was born. It was also the year one of the
favorite hymns of all time was born, and that was Rock Of Ages. The author was an
Englishman named Augustus Montague Toplady. He wrote 133 poems and hymns, but they
were all forgotten. This one, however, lives on, for it gives an image of Jesus that people
need. We need to know that all else can crumble and collapse, but Jesus is that Rock of
Ages, that solid rock on which we can stand when all other ground is sinking sand.
Toplady died at the early age of 38, but he was secure in Jesus, and his hymn has been a
favorite at funerals ever since, for it reminds us that though life is insecure, Jesus is not. He
is the Rock of Ages. Toplady's last words were, "My prayers are all converted into praises."
He felt secure because he had built his life on the solid rock. His hymn has been translated
into almost every known language. What is surprising is that people know this hymn more
than they know the Bible reference that gave Toplady the idea. It is really rather shocking
how often God and Jesus are called the Rock in the Bible. It is one of the major names of
Paul in I Cor. 10:3-4 tells us Jesus was with the people of God in the Old Testament
disguised as a rock. The rock from which water poured out to keep them alive in the desert
was Jesus. He wrote, "They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual
drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them and that rock was
Christ." Jesus has always been the source of the water of life, and has always been the Rock
of Ages. He was the source of life and security for God's Old Testament people just as He is
for God's New Testament people. They just did not know it was Jesus as we do. But they
knew their God was a Rock, and they sang of it often. In Psa. 18:31 we read, "For who is
God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God." In Psa. 31:2-3, "Turn your
ear to me, come quickly to my rescue, be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me."
England made the Rock of Gibraltar the strongest fort in the world, for it is cut right into
the rock and defended with canons. A certain insurance company has capitalized on this
strong image, and the Rock of Gibraltar is their trademark. God's Old Testament people
had this image long before, and God was their Rock. They didn't just have a piece of the
rock, they had the whole Rock. Psa. 71:3 stresses it again: "Be my rock refuge, to which I
can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress."
There are so many references to God as the Rock that we cannot read them all, but let me
give you just phrases that give you a clear impression.
Psa. 28:1, "To you I call, O Lord my Rock."
Psa. 42:9, "I say to God my Rock."
Psa. 78:35, "They remembered that God was their Rock."
Psa. 89:26, "You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior."
Psa. 92:15, "The Lord is upright, He is my Rock."
Psa. 95:1, "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our
There are many others, but these ought to be sufficient to impress us that the Rock was a
favorite image of God in the Old Testament, and of Jesus in the New Testament. Bible lands
were rock filled lands where rocks were a part of their way of life. This fact motivated me to
study rocks, and what I learned was amazing. Rocks are one of the most valuable resources
in the world, and our lives are more dependent upon rocks than we realize. Let me give you
some examples, for the more we see the value of rocks, the more we will treasure what we
have in the Rock of Ages.
Many of the wonders of the world were made of huge rocks, and because of this they have
survived in part to this day. You have for example:
The Great Wall of China.
The Great Pyramid of Egypt.
The Parthenon of Greece.
The Aztec Temple of the Sun.
The Stonehenge in England.
The rock is the symbol of stability, and that is why when men build something to last they