Sometimes our flesh is so strong, our wills so weak, our eyes so dim, and our memories so short that we, as Christians, forgetting who and what we are, grovel in defeat. The prophet Isaiah offers a sure cure for such a problem: “Look to the rock from which you were hewn” (51:1b).
We are to “look.” How often is a Christian defeated, how often does he fall into sin because he is looking at his own abilities and at his own interests? No believer can be victorious whose eyes are off the Lord. No matter how great our talents, no matter how grand our prospects, we will come to nothing if we fail to look to the Rock. This looking does not refer to a casual glance or an occasional checking in. Too many of us are satisfied with warming a church pew several times a week. But taking up space in a building is not the equivalent of looking to the Rock. “Look” here means “to look intently at” and “to regard with pleasure, favor, or care.” A casual acquaintanceship with the Lord will not be sufficient in the day of adversity. Those who stand are those who “look intently” upon their Lord, whose innermost desire is to know Him and to be like Him. Day after day, people “look to” their families, their work, their houses. They regard them with pleasure. They favor them with their time and attention; they lavish care upon them. It is this same sort of concentrated, perpetual, and devoted care that we must have for the Lord if we wish to honor Him.
We are to “look to the rock.” Many look to their friend, their families, their income, their natural abilities, even their church. But victory comes to those whose eyes are fixed on the Rock. The Rock is Jesus Christ. A rock is steadfast: it does not move; it does not change. We may safely place our confidence in the Lord, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Moreover, His doctrines do not change either. Neither whim, pragmatism, nor any other exigency alters the eternal truth of God, for it is settled and established. A rock is impregnable. It is a place of safety and refuge. A man in trouble may run to it for safety from his foes. How foolish we are to look to ourselves for strength, for defense, or for sustenance when we have a Rock that is higher than we are. Do you know and understand the will of the Lord? Is the decision you are making today in keeping with His revealed will? Are the plans you are making the Lord’s plans for your life? If you cannot respond with absolute firmness and conviction, then you are not “looking to the rock”; your plans, however wonderful, however desirable, are destined for the ash heap. Eternal blessing is not a matter of chance, luck, dogged determination, or perseverance. It follows absolutely and surely those who look to the rock, who do not regard themselves, but the Lord.
We are to “look to the rock from which . . . [we] were hewn.” The truly victorious believer—the one who can claim God’s promises, rest in the Lord, and rejoice in tribulation—is the one who recognizes that he is hewn from the Rock. In other words, he knows that the very nature and character of Christ are his, that through the new birth he is of the very stock of God. He knows that he has the flesh with all its inherent sin and weakness, but knows even more surely that in him and by faith dwells a new nature that is perfect, holy, and pure. The flesh can sin, but that new nature of Christ within cannot; it remains untarnished. The believer knows that whatever virtues Christ owns, the believer possesses, for he is hewn from that Rock. Believers are hewn: they are not chipped off, knocked off, or broken off. We are carefully crafted. The church that the Lord is building is not constructed of lumber, which is subject to decay and rot, and may burn. It is built of stone, block by block, as He wisely and carefully shapes us to take our proper and essential place. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Let us derive faith and fervor from the fact that we have been made like Him.
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