by Jerry Gentry
"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him" (Heb 12:5).
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (v. 6).
When the shifting sands of discouragement and dispair form a quagmire under your feet, where do you turn for stability? When it seems that everything in life has moved against you, what do you do now? After you have prayed all your prayers, cried all your tears, even bowed down yourself like a bulrush and exhausted all your requests, what do you do next?
You learn how to respond to the chastening of the LORD. You pray, Lord, lead me to the Rock.
King David prayed this prayer. Even after God had worked mightily in his life. He had been anointed to be Israel's future King, yet he cried: "when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps. 61:2).
It is that same rock that Jesus told Peter of: "and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).
What is this rock? Jesus is "this rock," the only firm footing amidst the shifting sands and trials and tests and difficulties of this life. He is the Rock of the church. Lord, lead me to the Rock. Lead me to Jesus, the Rock of my pilgrimage here on this earth.
The Psalmist boasts of this Rock: "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings" (Ps. 40:2).
Lord, lead me to the Rock, even as you led your servant David so long ago, when he too despaired in the face of horribly distressing circumstances. Lead me to the Rock of recovery and family restoration.
"And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire" (1Sa 30:1).
"And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way" (v. 2).
"So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives" (v. 3).
"Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep" (v. 4).
"And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite" (v. 5).
"And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God" (v. 6).
Then David went to the priest and "enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all" (v. 8).
Thus, as the LORD had said, "David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives" (v. 18).
"And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all" (v. 19).
When wives, sons, daughters and personal belongings were stolen, David wept and inquired of God what to do. God answered and David recovered all with great rejoicing. Elsewhere, the sweet psalmist of Israel declares three times:
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance" (Ps. 42:5, 11 and 43:5). David's prayer is reminiscent of the blessing of Aaron, upon the children of Israel:
"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee" (Num 6:24).
"The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee" (v. 25).
"The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace" (v. 26).
Lord, lead me to the Rock of thy gracious countenance. "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance" (Ps. 89:15).
David was but a teenage boy when he was anointed to be Israel's future King. His bravery in slaying Goliath is a monument to his trust in God. Later, an evil spirit of jealousy prompted King Saul with his javelin to attempt the murder of David. It was common that "David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" (1Sam. 16:23).
The boy David used music to combat the effects of Saul's evil spirits. Much later in life, David himself was attacked by the evil spirit of lust.
David "walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon" (2Sa 11:2).
He looked upon Bathsheba and lusted, the first step in the pathology of this sin in his life. He later committed adultery with her, and finally death overtook them, just as the Bible says:
"Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15). Uriah had died. The child of David's adulterous union died. And ultimately both David and Bathsheba died, but not before he was approached by Nathan the prophet, who confronted his sin and told him: "Thou art the man" (2Sa 12:7), to which David confessed, "I have sinned against the LORD" (v. 13). David's sorrow for his sin was genuine. God led him by the hand and he became "a man after mine own heart" (Acts 13:22).
After his repentance, David boasted: "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer" (2Sa 22:2).
"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" (v. 3). Who is our Rock, our Saviour? Jesus is our Rock, our Saviour, praise God!
There are spirits associated with every human emotion. Jealousy and rage are spirits that foment hatred and murder. Rejection and loneliness are spirits that kindle self condemnation and depression. Anger and bitterness are spirits of gall and wormwood that eat your insides out. Impatience is a spirit that cuts short the prompting of God's Holy Spirit.
Lord, lead me to the Rock called patience. Help me to learn how to "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: [and] fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass" (Ps. 37:7).
"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil" (v. 8).
"For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth" (v. 9).
"The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted" (Ps. 18:46). Lord, lead me to the Rock that I may know thee personally.
The song of Moses had introduced the children of Israel to this Rock of their salvation.
"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" (Deut. 32:4). When we rely on ourselves, we wander away from the Rock. Ancient Israel was warned: "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation" (v. 15).
"Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee" (v. 18).
Lord, lead me to that Rock whereby you performed great works of old.
"Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place" (Exod. 13:3). A mighty God is our Rock.
"Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face" (Ps. 5:8).
"Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day" (Ps. 25:5).
"Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies" (Ps. 27:11).
"For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me" (Ps. 31:3).
Lord, lead me to the Rock of acceptable worship.
"O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles" (Ps. 43:3).
"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" (Ps. 95:1).
"From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps. 61:2).
Lead me to the Rock of strong faith, as men of old who "quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." (Heb 11:34). Lead me to the Rock that is upright.
"Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness" (Ps. 143:10). When I stumble, Lord, lift me up. When I sin, correct me in measure. When I rebel, bring be back into your arms, and when I cry, let me lean on thy shoulder. Lord, lead me to the Rock.
How must I be led to this Rock of Israel? I will be led by His right hand.
"Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:10). Lord, take my hand and lead me, for you are my help and strength. When I stray from thee, O Lord, I must hear thy rebuke. I tremble. "O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" (Ps. 6:1). "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee" (Ps. 86:5).
"O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low" (Ps. 79:8).
"And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps. 139:24).
In the last days, when I discover myself to be among that divorced woman Israel in the land of my captivity where I can no longer rightly speak of you as my husband, remember your covenants with my fathers. Remember mercy, lest you bring me to naught. I await our remarriage at your great wedding feast. And now, lead me to the Rock of thy comfort.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2Chr. 7:14).
"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me" (Lev 26:40).
"And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity" (v. 41).
"Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land" (v. 42).
Lord, lead me to the rock of deeper repentance. that I may turn to thee with my whole heart. Make me to know that thy "word [is] like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" (Jer. 23:29), that I may "hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments" (Ps. 78:7).
Lord, lead me to the Rock of your proper fast, "to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke" (Isa 58:6).
"To deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh" (v. 7).
Lord, lead me to the Rock of answered prayer.
"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward" (v. 8).
"Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity" (v. 9).
"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day" (v. 10).
"For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock" (Ps. 27:5).
"For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord" (1Ths. 3:8).
With the psalmist, (Ps. 61:4) I will say: "I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah."
Lord, lead me to the Rock.