*Thanks to guest contributor Debra Dickey for writing today’s post!*
Lately, I’ve been feeling the regular need to seek a shelter — a dwelling place considered as afforded protection, or a refuge — during the storms and questions in my life. One of my favorites is described in God’s Word as a ‘cleft in the rock’.
The words of Sheila Walsh say that God tells Moses, “I will hold on to you. I will create a place, a cleft in the rock for you, to keep you and on which you can steady yourself and stand.” [Exodus 33:19] For Moses, the cleft was not just for his protection. It was also the sanctified place whereby God could let him see a glimpse of His glory and His majesty. The cleft in Horeb for Moses was a symbol and pointer to the Ultimate Cleft for us, Jesus.
God not only keeps His promises, but He also longs to keep us in them. This is the ‘shelter’ of all God’s promises. As it was in those castles long ago, made of rock and stone, the very center tower was called the “keep” and provided shelter, a place of habitation, an operating station from which defense, under siege, was centered. Usually a well was built at the center of the keep so those sustained there could not only endure but thrive.
In God’s kingdom, there is a keep, too, and it is Christ. How beautiful that God designed a way to provide such strength for us through Christ. God makes and keeps His promises to us, regardless of our faithfulness to Him.
Why would God want to keep us and His promises to us when we are so unfaithful? The Bible reminds us of a truth we too often forget, a truth that shines as clear as daylight: because God cannot help Himself. God does not change. “God is not man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.” (Numbers 23:19)
Even Balaam’s donkey, knowing Balaam’s penchant for his own agenda and not God’s, balked in an effort to save Balaam and steer him in the right direction. When he is beaten for it, he speaks, chiding Balaam: “Haven’t you ridden me all your life and have I ever done this before? Why can’t you take another look and see what’s going on here?”[The Shelter of God’s Promises]
Jeremiah 29:11-14 speaks: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.
Although one commentator states emphatically that this verse is NOT for us, but instead was written specifically to the exiles at that time in Babylon, it is not difficult to discover present-day truths and lessons that can be found therein: We are also exiles in a manner of speaking, looking at this world as only a temporary home. Yet life goes on. Jeremiah told the exiles of his day to live as normal lives as possible. Sometimes we are called upon to face tremendous difficulties. Through all of life’s hardships there is one absolutely secure place wherein we can place our hope and future. [By Jon W. Quinn, From Expository Files 1.6; June, 1994]
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; Let me find refuge under the shelter of your wings.” [Psalm 61: 3, 4]
Moses’ deepest desire was only to be where God is and to know Him more…if this is the cry of your heart, then do not fear if, for a time, God covers you with His Almighty hand and places you in the cleft of the rock. You may not see for a little while, but while you are there, rest, and trust, for He has placed you “near to where He is” and is acting on your behalf in order that you may know Him more. [christicue.hubpages.com]
Seek the Glory of God, be sheltered in the Cleft of the Rock, ensconced; cloaked in the ‘peace of God that passes all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7) , and, note to self ……listen to the donkey.