Yahweh Tsuri — The Lord My Rock
What better word than “rock” to represent God’s permanence, protection, and enduring faithfulness? Rocks provided shade, shelter, and safety in the wilderness and were used to construct altars, temples, houses, and city walls. Heaps of stones were also used to commemorate important events in Israel’s history. God’s commandments, given to Moses, were etched on stone so that all generations would learn his law. The word “rock” epitomizes his enduring faithfulness.
The Hebrew noun tsur is often translated “rock” or “stone,” while petra is the Greek word for rock. To worship Yahweh Tsuri (yah-WEH tsu-REE) is to echo Hannah’s great prayer of praise: “There is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2).
The New Testament identifies Jesus as the spiritual rock that accompanied the Israelites during their long journey through the desert. He is also the stone the builders rejected but that has become the cornerstone of God’s church.
Praying to Yahweh Tsuri
A friend of mine who suffers from a chronic illness hit a low point the other day in which she battled suicidal thoughts. She felt so low in fact that she found herself lying on the living room floor, weeping. When her husband returned home, he put his arms around her and just held her, assuring her it would be alright, that this low time would pass. Hardly able to believe him, she clung to him anyway. In a few hours, the gloom lifted, and she felt stronger and more energetic, able to resume her life again.
My friend describes her husband as someone whose emotions are invariably stable. None of the ups and downs that characterize her life. Instead of being sucked into the vortex of her depression and despair, he pulled her out and helped her regain perspective.
I like to think of God this way. Like a strong, sensitive husband, he is our rock, the one who steadies us in the midst of life’s difficulties. When we fall into a quicksand of fear or anxiety, we can call on Yahweh Tsuri to pull us out and place our feet once again on solid ground. This title for God makes me think of the old hymn that applies this image to Christ:
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
When everything around us is but sinking sand, we can rely on a God who Scripture calls the “Lord My Rock.”