The Rock That Is Higher Than I

Reading Time: 10 minutesThe Merchant’s Tears: Part 2

“A voice of the wailing of the shepherds! For their glory is destroyed: a voice of the roaring of young lions! For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.” (Zech 11:3)

Mountains
Mountains

“In this section Zechariah sets forth some end-time prophecies concerning Israel and the nations. Some scholars believe that these chapters are not original to the book and are anonymous prophecies dating from a later period. These arguments are based on supposed different style and vocabulary; however, the end-time thrust of this section may well account for these differences. No Hebrew manuscript of the book has ever discovered with this section of Zechariah missing from it.”

Zechariah 11:1-17 “Zechariah records prophetically the rejection of the Good Shepherd and the acceptance of a worthless shepherd who brings ruin.”

Zechariah 11:1-3 “These verses introduce ch. 11, setting forth in vivid, poetic terms the devastation of the land of Israel due to Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, the Good Shepherd (Zech 11:4-14; Mat 23:37-39). The judgment anticipated here was probably fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (A.D. 70).

Zechariah 11:2-3 The cypress, or juniper, will wail for the cedars of Lebanon. The shepherds will wail because the grazing lands will be ruined. The lions will roar because of the destruction of the pride of the Jordan, the jungle thicket that was their shelter. [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary].

There is an eeery premonition here in Zech 11:1-3, and through Zech 11:17 to the end time prophecies in The Revelation Of Jesus Christ; and its accounting of The Merchant’s Tears, that we reviewed last week in a detailed article called The Merchant’s Tears. Last week’s article dealt mainly with Rev 18;11, but there are many related connections to the topic for this week.

Comparing now, to Zech 11:3, lets just review Rev 18:11

“The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more;”

The stark similarities from Old Testament to New Testament seem to make a concentrated effort to show us, not only that history repeats itself, but that God is in control of the affairs of nations today, and that he will bring about justice for the many wrongs and the financial terrorism that the world is allowing to plunder millions of “ordinary” working people, world wide. History records these horrible scenes for us today, and predicts them for the future but no one is listening and learning from the past anymore, and so future events will be more rapid, and more severe, according to scripture.

Its a lonely time we live in where everyone is isolated, and everyone is doing whats right in their own eys.(Deut 12:8).

Perhaps a better “warning message” from scripture would be appropriate for the times we are all experiencing now, rather than the typical papal scare tactics we hear from many enthusiastic, but misled Christians:

“Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it deep darkness.”(Jer 13:16). This Old Testament verse can remind us of the 5 foolish “women” of Mat 25 who, looking for light, looking for oil in their lamps, were plunged into deep darkness, as they confessed: “…Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Mat 25:8).

While we become busier every day, stoically joining up with the crowds of The Merchant’s Tears, thinking that our safety and our salvation simply lies within all of the money being proffered by the merchants of the earth is rapidly imposing this “deep darkness” spoken of even back in Jer 13:16

The oppressive, brutal, world-wide system called in scripture “Babylon” is slated for justice. For divine retribution:

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Babylon’s thick wall will be leveled and her high gates set on fire; the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.” (Jer 51:58)

“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: (Rev 18:7-11).”Babylon” herein is self-described as “…I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow;” yet look at what scripture informs us of about that!

While we may very well look at all that is coming upon the world with great trepidation, it might be fair to echo the observation that “people’s hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26)

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Truly, for God’s people, their prayer must be:

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalms 61:2

Whatever suggested the image of our text, the inward meaning of it is explicit. It is the painful cry of the human heart for the forgiveness and comforting of God. There are times when the deepest craving of the soul is for something higher than itself. The self-reliance of our sunny hours is lost in a deep feeling of dependence. And that deep feeling of dependence, expressed in many relationships of life, is never satisfied nor perfected until it finds its rest in Jesus. When the heart is overwhelmed (as was the psalmist’s, as our’s may be now) there always falls a dimness on the eye. The rock of safety may be very near, but the mist hangs heavy, and we cannot see it. It is then the soul beholdens itself to prayer and like the shipwrecked sailor or the desert wanderer prays for heavenly guidance to the refuge. There is a rock higher than our highest, but we all need to be led to it. No one can by searching find out God. And how we are led there by a most loving guidance, whether it be of providence or grace, is the question which arises from our text.

The Experience of Failure

We see, for instance, how often men are led to the Rock by the bitter experience of failure. Man’s extremity of need is heaven’s opportunity of leadership. A pastor friend of mine was once traveling in a train. He was joined by a well-known merchant whose affairs were on the point of bankruptcy. And quite naturally, after a little talk, the merchant asked my friend if he would pray for him, and there in the carriage they knelt down and prayed. He was a strong, self-reliant man, that merchant. He was not given to asking help of anybody. But now the deepest craving of his heart was for something higher than himself on which to rest.

And much of what is difficult in life, and overwhelming to the point of heart-break, is but the kindly stratagem of heaven to lead us to the higher Rock. Those hours of heart-sinking familiar to us all, the feeling that we have spent our strength for nothing, the deep conviction which visits us in secret that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags—such things, for ten thousand souls, have been the hidden leadership of heaven to the Rock that is higher than themselves. Deep is calling unto deep, the deep of misery to that of mercy. Out of the depths of our world’s financial terrorism and bullying, our hearts are crying out in pain and despair. While we often do not quite realize what we are crying for, God knows and answers through the dark by leading the overwhelmed soul to Himself. God through the Old Testament prophets informs us that

“The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.” (1 Kings 18:12)

This is why we always say on this web site that “there is always a little light.” GOD is “in the thick darkness.”

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Jesus does not ask people to enter His service with their natural traits of character, to make a failure before the heavenly universe and before the world. The hard, cruel spirit which judges, condemns, and plunges into poverty and financial slavery has left the trace of the enemy upon everything. Nothing is being left untouched. Everything is being monetized. But mercy is to come in and lay her broad impress upon every plan. The world is to see Christian principles different from those which have so far been presented. Christ has erected the cross. He does not call upon any of us to ever manufacture tests and crosses for His people. The cross is only for you personally; you can’t apply it to anyone else. (Ezekiel 14;14, Ezekiel 14;20). Jesus presents His requirements in His Word, and gives us His gracious invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus says: “Wear My yoke, and in your daily experience you will find the rest which comes only to the the Christian who truly knows and loves God. (John 14:27, John 17:3).

Devotion to the Best

Some people now like to show great devotion to “the beast” of Bible prophecy now as their response to “the time of trouble such as never was since the beginning of the world.” (Rev 3:10, Dan 12:1)

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Jesus bids us note how often people are led by a meek, open-hearted devotion to the Best. Perhaps, Trump’s wife is right when she said “Be Best?”

Loyal to the highest principles that they know; people today are confronted by the Holy Spirit and led to and by the higher Rock. ALL right impulses are from Christ. If this universe is not a righteous universe and if true, Biblical love lies not at the heart of things, what use is there in striving to be righteous or in making love the passion of our lives? But the strange thing is that whenever a person is loyal to the best and worthiest they know, they are never left with questions like that. They are led upward from personal, cherished loyalties, (slavery) to something loftier than their own personal “best.” It is a Rock, solid and impregnable; the Rock on which the universe is built. The Rock” Christ Jesus is our only dependable bulwark against the storms of the last days. Jesus is THE LIGHT in our clouds. We may pass upward from our values to the reality of what Jesus values; we may NOW discover that we have aligned ourselves with God.

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor 10:4)

When people live for love and truth and mercy, God is always walking in their garden, alongside them. They come to feel with deepening conviction that the things they strive for are not passing dreams, but an answer to the realities of heaven. Do your duty, though it be very irksome, and do it because it is your duty; be tender-hearted, forgiving one another, no matter how you are tempted to be hard; and above you, over-arching you, the reality of what you strive for, you will discover God who is our Rock.

We can be our best, or we can be Christ’s Best:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me.” (Mat 25:40,45)

To be true to the highest that we know is to be led to the Rock that is still higher. “Madam,” said Dr. Hood Wilson once to a lady lamenting she had lost the Lord, “go down and work in the slums and you will find Him.”

The Guiding Hand of Christ

But, above all, we are led to the Rock that is higher by the guiding hand of Christ—”no man cometh to the Father but by me.” When we crave for the certainty that God is love, we may turn in vain to nature or to history. Nature and history have many voices, but they never cry, “I am the way.” Only Christ proclaims Himself the way to One higher than our highest thought, because deeper than our deepest need. Thus, although the psalmist did not know it, he saw the day of Christ and he was glad. It was for Christ that he was yearning in that passionate outcry of his spirit. It is He who takes us by the hand and leads us where philosophy can never lead us, to Love, to a Father on the throne, to “the rock that is higher than I.”

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalms 61:2)

David describes his sense of being far from God’s presence in his time of need. His prayer is that he might be brought back to the rock that is higher than he. The imagery of God as a Rock for the believer was introduced by Moses (Deut 2:4) and is developed elsewhere in the Psalms (Psalms 62:2; Psalms 71:3; Psalms 91:1-2; Psalms 144:1).

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David must have been far from home when he wrote this psalm. Fortunately, God is not limited to any geographic location. Even when we are among strange people and surroundings, God never abandons us. His all-surpassing strength is always with us.

I was hiking in the wilderness here in the north country recently I had the privilege of watching a Red Tailed Hawk flying  effortlessly in the stormy winds beneath the clouds I was under.

“Have you ever watched a hawk in pursuit of a timid dove? Instinct has taught the dove that in order for the hawk to seize his prey, he must gain a loftier flight than his victim. So she rises higher and still higher into the blue dome of heaven, ever pursued by the hawk, which is seeking to obtain the advantage. But in vain. The dove is safe as long as she allows nothing to stop her in her flight, or draw her earthward; but let her once falter, and take a lower flight, and her watchful enemy will swoop down upon his victim. Again and again have we watched this scene with almost breathless interest, all our sympathies with the little dove. How sad I would have felt to see it fall a victim to the cruel hawk!” {ML 105.2}

My friends, in Christ, we have before us a warfare–a terrible conflict that we cannot possibly navigate on our own. Its all too much. Its far bigger than us. Satan and his seductive temptations will decieve anyone who does not seek to know and love Jesus. The enemy will use every argument, every deception, to entangle the soul; and in order to win the crown of life, we must put forth earnest, persevering effort. We must not lay off the armor or leave the battlefield until we have gained the victory, and can triumph in our Redeemer.

As long as we continue to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith we shall be safe. But our affections must be placed upon things above, not on things on the earth. By faith we must rise higher and still higher in the attainments of the graces of Christ. By daily contemplating His matchless charms, we must grow more and more into His glorious image. While we thus live in communion with Heaven, Satan will lay his nets for us in vain.

THAT “Rock that is Higher than I” is THE Light in our clouds today.

Coming Up Next Week: The Rock That Is Higher Than I in Bible Prophecy. Daniel and Revelation are more up to date than next week’s news!

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“If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” — Psalm 94:18-19 Listen to chapter . Powered by BibleGateway.com.
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