Thursday, January 17, 2013
Getting to Know God: El-sela
I will say unto God, my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? - Psalm 42:9
Today we will discuss El-sela, which means "God my rock". The Bible is filled with references where God is referred to as a rock, particularly in the Psalms. David, the author of many of the Psalms, was very familiar with rocks since he spent a good deal of time in the wilderness. Although Psalm 42 is not specifically attributed to David, many scholars believe that he was indeed the author, and I'm inclined to agree with them. The language simply sounds too similar to other Psalms that are attributed to David, including Psalms 62, where David repeatedly refers to God as "my rock".
As a regular hiker, I have seen my fair share of rocks. Yes, I have encountered small rocks, big rocks, round rocks, flat rocks and rocks that resemble the face of a man. When I think of rocks, several elements come to mind. First off, I think of the sturdiness that rocks provide. In certain weather and on particular trails, I welcome the sturdy grip of the soles of my shoes against the rugged rocks. The rocks provide the traction and stability that soft earth cannot offer.
Secondly, I think of the many rocks that have been precisely placed as steppingstones for crossing streams and creeks. On many occasions, these rocks offer a bridge for hikers to cross safely, not to mention dryly. Though the walkway can be precarious at times, it sure beats wading through the waters (been there, done that--no fun!).
Lastly, I think of safety and shelter. Many rocks form an outcropping which provides a place of shelter against winds and storm. Should the need arise, I know that I could crawl into the crevice of the rocks and be protected from the harsh elements that surround me, and there have been occasions where I thought I might have to do just that. Again, no fun!
With these three thoughts alone, is it any wonder that our great God can be referred to as a rock? He is our strength and stability when we have lost our footing. He is the bridge that leads us from the dark side of our circumstances into the light. And He is our shelter from the storms of life. No matter what comes our way, we can stand firm in the knowledge that God is our immovable rock. He will not fail us, and He will not let our feet slip.
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.- 2 Samuel 22:2