What Does it Mean That God Is the Rock of Salvation?

In most Old Testament references, God is not just described as 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.

What Does it Mean That God Is the Rock of Salvation?

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 (2 Samuel 22:2-3).

God Communicates in Story and Metaphor

God often communicates using story and metaphor as a way of explaining spiritual truths and His love for humanity in human terms.

For example, Jesus instructed His followers to be “salt and light” of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). He also referred to Himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:11), the “Vine,” the “Light of the World” (John 8:12), and the “Bread of Life” (John 6:35), while God proclaimed that He was the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6), and the church was His “bride,” He being the “groom” (Revelation 19:7-8).

It’s one thing to say that God is loving and kind, but when we compare God’s love to that of a father’s love for his children or a shepherd’s love in searching for a lost sheep, our perspective is widened, and our understanding of God’s love enhanced. This is the power of metaphor. 

The writers of Scripture, following the example of their Creator, were also known for their use of figurative language to describe God’s divine attributes.

  • John the Baptist heralded Jesus as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
  • The prophet Isaiah wrote that God is the “potter” and we are His “clay” (Isaiah 64:8).
  • The sons of Korah sang that God is a “sun and shield” (Psalms 84:11) and “as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalms 42:1).

 And in both the Old and New Testaments, the inspired writers of Scripture frequently referred to God as the “Rock.”

Why Is God Referred to as the Rock in the Bible?

The obvious metaphor of the rock points to God being strong, steadfast, and consistent, not easily moved or shaken and a refuge for those in need.

Moses wrote, “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” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

The Psalmists also wrote, “Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalms 24:8). “Who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength” (Psalms 65:6).

In most Old Testament references, God is not just described as 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.

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? (Psalms 18:31).

For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede (Deuteronomy 32:3).

The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? (Psalms 113:4-6).

In Daniel’s visions, he even saw the most powerful prophesied nations of the world (Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome) crushed by a “rock cut out of a mountain.” This rock was, of course, referring to “the Rock,” which is God (Daniel 2:44-45), who will establish His eternal kingdom over the ruins of all others.

More than just a national symbol, God’s power, strength, protection, and provision as the Rock are extended to the personal lives of those who believe in Him.

God Is a Personal Rock and Refuge

After receiving the ability to bear children, Hannah sang, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:1-2).

David also praised God for being his stronghold, deliverance, protection, and promoter. “I love you, Lord, my strength. 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, my stronghold” (Psalms 18:1-2).

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock” (Psalms 27:5).

When God’s people trust in Him, they find strength, courage, and hope in His strength and the shelter of His love (Proverbs 3:5-6). It’s when we rely on our own strength or place our hope in other sources, as the Israelites often did (Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 17:10), we discover how flimsy all other hope and strongholds really are.

This is why God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, saying, “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” (Isaiah 44:8).

What Does the Rock of Salvation Mean?

King David, one of the most prolific writers of the Old Testament, took this metaphor a step further, calling God his rock and his salvation.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

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, my stronghold (Psalms 18:2).

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken (Psalms 62:2).

David was obviously referring to the countless times God had delivered him from the hands of his enemies, but there was also a spiritual component to God being called the rock of his salvation. The Lord delivers those who trust in Him from fear, insecurity, and even sin, made possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is the Rock of our Salvation

Jesus taught that those who listened to His teachings and applied them to their lives were like those who build their house on a solid foundation. Those who ignore Him and choose to live life their own way are like those who build their house on the sand. When the storms of life come, the foundation crumbles and with it the house (Matthew 7:24-29; Luke 6:48).

This is, of course, is in line with what David wrote when he said, “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” (Psalms 40:2).

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is hope for eternal salvation and forgiveness for one’s sin. As it is written, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) and “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Faith, hope, love, peace, patience, joy, courage, and confidence can all be shaken or taken away when they are placed in the wrong things. Trusting in the promises of God, however, produces confidence in God’s power, protection, and provision.

Those who know that they are loved (Romans 8:38-39), forgiven (1 John 1:9), and redeemed (Hebrews 10:10), know that their lives are anchored to a solid, unshakeable foundation in Jesus Christ, the Rock. Their salvation, likewise, cannot be taken or shaken because it is secure in Jesus Christ who died once and for all for their sins.

As David and the prophets wrote:

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever (Psalms 125:1).

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? (Psalms 18:31).

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

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Joel Ryan is an LA-based children’s author, artist, professor, and speaker who is passionate about helping young writers unleash their creativity and discover the wonders of their Creator through storytelling and art. In his blog, Perspectives off the Page, he discusses all things story and the creative process.