He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
(Cf. vers. 15, 18, 31, 37.) This name for God occurs chiefly in this song of Moses, and in the compositions of David and of later psalmists. It was a name full of significance to those familiar with the desert. Rock - rock - rock - Israel had seen little else during the thirty-eight years of wandering. The older men could remember the seclusion and granitic sublimity of the rock sanctuary of Sinai. The congregation had mourned for Aaron under the shadow of Mount Hor, "rising high aloft into the blue sky, like a huge, grand, but shattered rock-city, with vast cliffs, perpendicular walls of stone, pinnacles, and naked peaks of every shape." They had witnessed the security of Edom in the hills in which now stand the wondrous rock-hewn ruin of Petra. They had traversed the defiles of the terrible and precipitous Arabah. When David was hunted in the wilderness, he, too, was often led to think of God, his Rock (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 61:2; Psalm 62:2, 7, etc.). It is wilderness experience which still makes the name so precious.
I. ROCK A NATURAL IMAGE OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. The image is not an arbitrary one. Nature abounds in shadows of the spiritual. It is what the mind puts into the objects of its survey which makes them what they are. "The Alps and Andes are but millions of atoms till thought combines them, and stamps on them the conception of the everlasting hills. Niagara is a gush of water-drops till the soul puts into it that sweep of resistless power which the beholder feels. The ocean, wave behind wave, is only great when the spirit has breathed into it the idea of immensity. If we analyze our feelings, we shall find that thought meets us wherever we turn. The real grandeur of the world is in the soul which looks on it, which sees some conception of its own reflected from the mirror around it; for mind is not only living, but life-giving, and has received from its Maker a portion of his own creative power" (Dr. John Ker). Rock is thus more than rock - its awfulness, grandeur, immovability, everlastingness, strength, are born of spiritual conceptions. These attributes do not in reality belong to it. Rock is not everlasting, moveless, abiding, etc. Old rocks are being worn away, new rocks are being formed; the whole system had a beginning and will have an end (Psalm 90:2). It is not that these attributes belong to rock, and are thence by metaphor attributed to God; but these attributes of God, being dimly present in the mind, are by metaphor attributed to rock. We clothe the natural object with shadowy attributes of Deity. God is the true Rock, the other is the image. God is rock, in virtue of:
1. The eternity of his existence (Psalm 90:2).
2. The omnipotence of his might (Daniel 4:35).
3. The wisdom of his counsel (Isaiah 40:13).
4. The immutability of his purpose (Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 46:10).
5. The faithfulness of his Word (Psalm 119:89, 90).
6. The rectitude of his government (Psalm 145:17). Whence:
7. The perfection of his work. Christ is like the Father, eternal (Revelation 1:11), unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), all-powerful (Matthew 28:18), faithful (John 13:1; John 14:18-20), righteous (Revelation 19:11), wise (Isaiah 9:6).
II. ROCK A NATURAL IMAGE OF WHAT, IN VIRTUE OF HIS ATTRIBUTES, GOD IS TO HIS PEOPLE.
1. A shelter (Psalm 61:3).
2. A defense (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 62:6).
3. A dwelling-place (Psalm 90:1).
4. A shadow from the heat (cf. Isaiah 32:2).
5. A move-less standing-ground (Psalm 40:2).
6. A foundation (cf. Matthew 7:24). The rock smitten in the wilderness furnishes the additional idea of:
7. A source of spiritual refreshment.
Apply throughout to Christ, the Rock on which his Church is built (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 2:11), the smitten Savior (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 John 5:6), the spiritual Refuge and Salvation of his people (Romans 8:1, 34-39). Toplady's hymn, "Rock of Ages." - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.