The Rock :: featured article

The Rock
by Joel Howard 

"You were unmindful of the Rock that [fathered] you,
and you forgot the God who gave you birth"
- Deuteronomy 32:18 (ESV)

 "Though my father and mother forsake me
The LORD will receive me"
- Psalm 27:10 (NIV)

The more I try to leave the topic of God as our father, the more I find myself coming back. Recently I was reading the words of God through Moses in Deuteronomy when he calls Israel to choose life:


“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish." (Deuteronomy 30:15-18a, ESV)

 God, through Moses, is telling his people what is to come. He is painting the backdrop for all of history and for all peoples to come: Stay home or else. Love me and you will have everything you need. Leave me, and you will not. 

He is prefacing the grand narrative of all mankind to come, indicating that our story is a prodigal story.

The orphaned spirit is thick in the air today. Each of us can feel it and taste it, but why? It is because we have each been orphaned at one time. And now, through Christ, we who believe have been brought into the family of God. [See the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15]

In Deuteronomy 32, we read the words of “the song of Moses”, serving as a testament to Israel and to us, should we ever stray. About halfway through the song, we read how God is “the Rock who bore us”. Another word in the original text is “the Rock who fathered us”, and that God is the God who gave birth to us (32:18, ESV).

Wow. If you are anything like me, this bold revelation of being parented by God is both stunning and grounding. God is the Rock who fathered Israel, and he is the God who gave birth to Israel. For us who have been grafted in, God is the same. He has fathered us in strength, and mothered us in tender mercy. God is our father and our mother. God is the one who parents us.

What a powerful way to combat the orphaned spirit! What an amazing reminder and revelation! David's words in Psalm 27 sum up this same revelation for us: "For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in" (27:10, ESV).

Are you struggling with the orphaned spirit today? Come home! Pick up the sword of the word of God and remind yourself that God is the Rock who fathered Israel, and who fathers you. God is the God who gave you birth. He created you in your mother's womb.  You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and God's works are "wonderful" (Psalm 139). 

Come home to God today. Allow him to re-parent you in Christ. And allow this new place of "home" to infiltrate every aspect of your parenting, your marriage as well as your life and ministry. Also, ask God the Father to bring even more lost sheep back into his fold!  Watch him work today!

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