Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 September 2021 Psalm 18:2.

Psalm 18:2.     The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). 

Oh my fellow believers, once again it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day! So please, let’s heed the call to worship nuh, be it in the newfound freedom of His sanctuary, (smile) as some of the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted, or through the miracle of modern technology. But come Sunday, worship is a must! And as always, we begin each Sunday session of worship with a song of praise. 

Today’s song is a favourite Christian hymn authored by the Reverend Augustus Toplady in the latter half of the 18th century. And though there is no evidence to back up what’s since become a legend, the story goes that the Reverend ‘drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. 

Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics. The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock itself and on some maps, and is also reflected in the name of a nearby tea shop.’ By now you must know that today we are singing the definitive Christian hymn ‘Rock of Ages.’ And such a moving and powerful song does need such a miraculous background to help us keep the faith. 

So, let’s sing it in harmony and sincerity, in a soulful, up-tempo riddim, because it’s not a sad song, but one of encouragement and safety, one that brings joy to the human soul and spirit. As one strong voice raised to heaven in sacrificial praise: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labours of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour, or I die. Wash me, Saviour or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…Let me hide myself in thee…let me hide myself in thee….’ 

And believe me friends, there is no better place to hide in this universe than in Christ Jesus! For He is indeed our refuge and place of safety. Bruh David says it best in Psalm 18 – His prayer of Thanksgiving for deliverance from all his enemies. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) 

And that’s exactly what the song ‘Rock of Ages’ is saying to us. Jesus is our strength, our Saviour, the one to whom we can turn in any situation and receive comfort and safety, encouragement and resuscitation. And the Hymnary.org website lends a valuable insight into the song. It says: ‘While evidence to support that story (of Reverend Toplady’s adventure) is lacking, it does provide a vivid image through which to understand the hymn. Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are like that cleft in the rock, where we can find shelter from the deluge of sin’s guilt and power.’ 

Wow mih bredrin! What gospel truth that is! And not only Bruh David uses the rock as a metaphor for God; His strength, staying power and comfort, but listen to Moses in his song to the children of Israel. ‘Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine (teaching) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish (proclaim) the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ (Deut. 32:1-4) 

And if any human being should know of God’s strength, truth and righteousness it’s surely Moses who had so many miraculous dealings with the Lord! The prophet Isaiah, another great man of God, also described the Lord in rock-like terms. In his hymn of praise, he declares: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (the Rock of Ages).’ (Is. 26:3-4) 

Now friends, if godly men like Moses, Isaiah and Bruh David could consider the Lord as being the Rock of Ages, who are we to say them nay eh? We should be shouting it even louder than them, because we now have Jesus fulfilling the Lord’s promises of safety, succour, refuge and comfort! 

And we’ll close with these uplifting words from the website Godtube, which say: ‘Even when we may feel like we are all alone, remember that God is always by our side and will never abandon us. He is truly our light in the dark and our rock that we can stand upon always. What an amazing feeling to be LOVED by such a kind Father and to give praise to His name with the beautiful hymn ‘Rock Of Ages.’ Hearing the story behind the hymn made this classic song even more powerful. What a way to worship!’ 

Yes my people, it is indeed a wonderful way to worship! So please, let’s allow all the good things we’ve said today to stir us up nuh, to raise the level of our passion for Christ, so that we can do justice to His name and bring glory to the Father as we ought to. Much LOVE!

…to God the Father be the glory…through Jesus Christ, the Son…                                                                                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8      

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