For our God is a rock – Part 1
Moses in his song uses the metaphor of a Rock to describe who God is to Israel. Four times in Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 30, and 31, he referred to God as the Rock of Israel. A rock is a symbol of stability, permanence, strength, dependability, and steadfastness. A rock stresses the unchanging nature of God in contrast with the fickle and unstable nature of Israel. A rock stresses the faithfulness of God, unlike unstable Israel. Concerning this Rock, Moses sang that “…his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NLT). He was referring to the character and deeds of God here.
But when Moses gets to verse 15 of his song, the tone changes. He began to lament that Israel had abandoned her Rock who made her. She had grown obese and no longer appreciated her God. “But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation.” (Deuteronomy 32:15 NLT).
Moses’s lament continues in verse 18 of his song. This time, he accuses Israel of neglecting and forgetting the God who fathered or gave birth to her. “You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth.” (Deuteronomy 32:18 NLT).
Why would Israel forget the Rock who gave birth and fathered her? Why would they jettison their covenant with God? All through her history, Israel’s relationship with God was never stable. It was characterised by ups and downs, by peaks and troughs. Many times, God had forewarned Israel to be careful not to abandon her commitment to Him, when they begin to prosper. But she has always ignored such warnings. One such warning is found in Deuteronomy 8:11-20. “Beware…lest…when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…then you say in your heart, “My power, and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ ” Are Israel’s obesity, self-pride, and disregard for the covenant not typical of us? Do we not easily forget our humble beginnings? Many of us seek God, when we need Him most and dump Him after He would have delivered us or blessed us.
Israel’s instability was because she hardly knew who her God was. If she had known Him, she would not have abandoned God for the ephemeral things of life. By disregarding God, Israel hurt herself most. She did not know what she had. She fell short of demonstrating those ideals of godly wisdom that other nations admired in her. Other nations wished Israel’s Rock were their God. As Moses later said in verse 31, “Their enemies know that their own gods are weak, not mighty like Israel’s God.” (GNB).
We hurt ourselves, when we choose other gods. Like Jonah said, “Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies.” (Jonah 2:8; Jere. 17:13 NLT).
Furthermore, Paul warns us to remain steadfast and not relent on our commitment to God.
“Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise.” (Hebrews 10:23 GNB).
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT).
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