For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
Few men but feel that they need a rock of some kind. Only when their mountain stands very strong do they feel as if they were absolutely secure and independent (Obadiah 1:3, 4). Even then their trust is in acquired power and riches, which is a "rock" to them, though their confidence often proves delusive (Haman, Nebuchadnezzar, Wolsey). When men have lost faith in religion, they frequently take refuge in the "rock" of philosophy. The "rock" of the heathen is their idols and the arts of the soothsayer. Men tend to make a "rock" of those superior to them in power and wisdom. The "rock of nations is too often their military and naval defenses, with arts of diplomacy, and alliances with stronger powers (Isaiah 30.). The believer's Rock, which is the best of all, is God.
I. THE SUPERIORITY OF THE BELIEVER'S ROCK EVINCED.
1. From the nature of this Rock. Grant that God is, a Being, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable wise in his counsel, omnipotent in his power, faithful in his promises, righteous in his actions, infinitely gracious and merciful to those who put their trust in him, a strong Rock," "an House of defense" to save them (Psalm 32:7), a "Hiding-place" to preserve them from trouble (Psalm 32:7), - and the superiority of this Rock to every other needs no further demonstration. It is self-evidently impossible to have a surer or a better. What can man ask more than that the "eternal God" should be his "Refuge," and that underneath him should be the "everlasting arms"? (Deuteronomy 33:27).
2. From the advantages derived from this Rock. These are such as no other can pretend to give. The believer's life being hid with God (Colossians 3:3) and guaranteed by the life of Christ in heaven (John 14:19), and his inheritance lying beyond death (1 Peter 1:4), no hostility of man can reach either. No other "rock" can give the same security, the same peace, joy, shelter, strength, comfort, and refreshment, as the believer's. To which considerations add the following: -
1. Many of these so-called "rocks" are nonentities. The idols of the heathen are of this description. So with the arts and charms of sorcery, prayers to the Virgin, etc.
2. The surest of these "rocks" are not to be depended on. "Wisdom is better than strength" (Ecclesiastes 9:16); but wisdom, strength, riches, rank, powerful friend, long-consolidated might, - all sometimes fail those who put their trust in them.
3. Not one of these "rocks" can stand when God wills its overthrow. God's help, on the other hand, is real, always to be relied on, and invincible against opposition.
II. THE SUPERIORITY OF THE BELIEVER'S ROCK CONFESSED. It is often confessed, even by the enemy. How often, e.g. have ungodly men expressed themselves envious of the religious trust and peace of the believer! How often have they admitted its superiority to anything possessed by themselves! How often, again, have they owned to their own "rocks" failing them in time of need! How often, even, when it came to the end, have they lamented that they had not sought the Rock of the believer] Philosophy is admitted, even by those who take refuge in it, to be but a sorry substitute for religion. Passages could be culled from current literature showing very distinctly this need of the believer's rock - the almost agonizing expression of a wish that belief were possible - the confession that in the surrender of Christian beliefs a large part of life's hopefulness and joy has gone forever (see in Mallock's "Is Life worth Living?"). - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.