“Jesus is a Rock in a weary land”

The songs in our hymn book are designed to encourage us and to teach at the same time. So it is no surprise the lyrics to our songs – like the one referenced in the title – are drawn from Scripture, the most encouraging Book around. Here’s part of that hymn:

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A shelter in the time of storm.

This song is based in part on Isaiah 32:2, which reads: “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

Isaiah is foretelling the Man, the coming Messiah – Jesus Christ. His book is so full of references to Jesus some refer to it as “the fifth gospel account.” What Isaiah is prophesying about Jesus – and what the hymn is describing – is the safety and completeness experienced by being His friend and part of His family.

Clarke’s commentary states: “The shadow of a great projecting rock is the most refreshing that is possible in a hot country, not only as most perfectly excluding the rays of the sun, but also as having in itself a natural coolness, which it reflects and communicates to every thing about it.” Knowing we are in fellowship and connected spiritually to Jesus can provide us the confidence we need to keep our bearings – and our cool – during difficult times. If we are right with Christ, everything else can go wrong, and we will not be undone.

What types of difficulties does Jesus provide help with?

1. We need a sanctuary from the guilt of sin. Nothing torments so badly as knowing we have hidden something wrong. But there is “no condemnation” in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Trusting and obeying Him will make us “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
No one has led a perfect life; only Jesus lived without sin (see Rom. 3:23; Heb. 4:15). As our Savior, He offers us a new start, as if we had been born again (see John 3:3-5; II Cor. 5:17). And He can help us be at peace with all the disappointments and regrets of life and return the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12).

2. We need shelter from the power of the devil. His goal is to destroy lives (see I Peter 5:8). However, Jesus is greater than anything or anyone we face: “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). With “the armour of God” we can stand against “the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

3. We need a hiding place from the hardships of life. The complexities and pressures of living in our world can be almost too much to bear sometimes. Jesus offers a light burden and easy yoke (see Matt. 11:28-30). He is able to keep “in perfect peace” those who are close to Him (see Isaiah 26:3). When we are filled with anxiety, He can provide a stable presence to help us regain our footing (see Phil. 4:6-7). He is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” who can help us be unafraid “though the earth be removed” (Psalm 46:1-3). He helps us during trouble (Heb. 13:5-6).