Riverside Community Church

YHWH Tzur (T zur^) God my Rock

YHWH (Ya^ way) The God who is, who exists, who lives and who can be known.

And God can be known by you, personally, intimately and deeply.  This experience is a growing thing, we grow in our understanding of God and the more we grow, the more intimate we are and the more thrilled we become. I dare you to experience this thrill by experiencing God more deeply. So lets experience God more deeply, together, right now.

What do you think of when you think about God? What image comes to mind?-Maybe a great-grandfather in the sky who loves you no matter what? --How about a cosmic cop, making sure nobody breaks the rules?-Maybe celestial Santa Claus who gives people what they ask for if they are good. Maybe you don't think of a person at all.  Maybe you think of God as a powerful force,-a presence that pervades the universe.

If you've been watching too much TV, you think of Morgan Freeman in a white suit.-do you see God as angry at you or kind to you-do you see God distant or near-is God personal or aloof?  This is very important, crucially important to you as to how you see God.

This your ‘God’ experience

But is your picture of God Biblically true, fully true and accurate-you might say maybe not fully accurate


Let’s experience God more

We can know what God, YHWH, is by His names and as we study and experience His Name, we experience what God really is, deeper and deeper.

And God called Himself ‘The Rock’ (Not Dwayne Johnson)

Isaiah 44:7-8“This is what the LORD says—    Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last;    apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.    Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people,    and what is yet to come—    yes, let them foretell what will come.  Do not tremble, do not be afraid.  Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?    No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

God calls Himself a Rock, therefore, picture YHWH as a rock, solid, unmovable, immutable (not changing), strong, steadfast, consistent – a huge rock, like the rock of Gibraltar.  There are two Hebrew words which are translated as rock; in English, Tsur and Sela. Both of the words denote more than just a rock.These both indicate a large immoveable cliff or boulder, sharp and strong, mighty.  A rock to stand upon or a rock to shelter in -a cleft.

(illustration)  A century ago, an ocean liner sank off the southwest coast of England, taking many people down with it. A 16-year-old galley boy, who was tossed up along the rugged shore, he survived by clinging to a rock allnight long. When the tide went down and he was finally rescued, he was asked, "Didn't you shake as you were clinging all night to that rock?";The boy replied, "Yes, of course. But the rock never shook once."

The use of Rock as a name for God is found throughout the Psalms, and the first notation of YHWH as rock is in Moses’s song in Deuteronomy 32. 

Deuteronomy 32

Moses’ song  - Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;  hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain  and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.  I will proclaim the name of the Lord.   Oh, praise the greatness of our God!   He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.  Our great God is THE ROCK on which you can stand secure and in which you can find shelter and refuge and find safety from storms.

When I was in public school a few of my close friends called me Rocky.  Not everyone called me that just the close friends -it was an intimate name.-just like David, in his Psalm, says YHWH, my rock (intimate inflection)  2 Samuel 22:2-3. David sang to the LORD the words of this song …“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,    my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—

Yes, yes, yes -my rock, your rock– God to me is close, intimate and solid as a rock.  God is my Rock (my Tzur) will never change, The Rock will always be there for me, The Rock will be my strength (my Ozee), The Rock will be my place to stand unafraid, my place to shelter, safely-let me repeat this more personally for you, experience God.  God is your Rock (your Tzur) will never change, The Rock will always be there for you, The Rock will be your strength (your Ozee), The Rock will be your place to stand unafraid, The Rock is your place to shelter,safely.  God is not just described as a rock, but the Rock. The Israelites understood that God was not just one source of strength and protection. He was their only strength, their only hope, and their only refuge. There is an implied supremacy here that points to the ultimate sovereignty of God.

God, YHWH, your rock is the only rock, your Rock is your one source of strength, hope and refuge.  For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? (Psalms 18:31).  For their rock (unbelievers in YHWH) is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede (Deuteronomy 32:3).

(illus) Among the safety rules a mountain climber must remember as he scales rocky cliffs is this: Keep three points on the rock. This means that if he moves one foot, his other foot and both hands must be solidly positioned. If he is going to move a hand to a new grip, his other hand and both feet must be secure. In the same way we must be griping the rock, standing on the rock or sheltering in the rock.       That is up to you to be on or in the Rock.

How do you picture God? Like THE ROCK, your ROCK? How do I do this: stand on the Rock or shelter in it? Take God, Christ, as the rock of your salvation -the God who is.   Make God your only rock, solo petra only rock.   Build your life upon the rock, read and obey God’s word allow God to be your refuge rock in storms - go to God & cast your care I’ve experienced God more deeply through His precious names and this week I have seen, experienced and felt God is my ROCK. I am thrilled to read to you these verses about God, The Rock. Allow these verses to enhance your image of God, your picture of God. Your experience of God, your God.

Psalm 18:2 sela clef -the high rock The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, mystronghold.

Psalm 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 27:5 tzur -the lowly rock (Moses struck the rock)  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he willhide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 31:2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, astrong fortress to save me.

Psalm 31:3 sela -Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.

Psalm 40:2 sela -the high rock. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 61:2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 62:7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Psalm 78:35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.

Psalm 95:1  Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 They (Israelites in the wilderness) all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. The next time you find yourself watching waves crash against an unyielding rocky shoreline, the next time you look up at a granite mountain peak, remember that your God is the Rock. You have a firm foundation for your life and a stronghold in times of trouble. God is my Rock, God is your Rock.

January 15, 2023