1David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.
2He said: The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, 3my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence.”
2 Samuel 22:1-3
24Jesus said, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.”
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Reflection: The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.
Think about those times in your life when it felt as if all the walls around you might come caving in to fall upon you. What desperate or frightening times have you endured in life? All of us have had such experiences. When we give our lives to God we do not prevent such realities from happening. In fact, one promise Jesus gave to his disciples was that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33, NIV). Notice that he doesn’t say might have trouble, but will have trouble. But this promise is followed by an even greater reality – the assurance of Christ’s strength: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We will face heavy rains of sorrow, floods of grief, winds of oppression, and the beatings of disappointments. However, if we trust in the strength of Jesus Christ, then we will be able to endure all of these things and find the victory of resurrection life. Jesus will hold us up in our weakest and frailest times. This is because we are surrounded by Christ’s love and grace at all times.
St. Patrick put it this way: “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.”* Christ Jesus, in his love and grace, forms our foundation and the very sphere of our being.
Know this week that no matter what you face, no matter what difficulty besets you, the strength of Christ Jesus is your strength as well. Plant yourself firmly upon the person and work of Jesus Christ and enter into the current of the Holy Spirit through prayer, fellowship with God, and reading the Word. There is no better foundation to establish yourself upon for this new year – full as it is with many blessings and challenges to come.
Prayer Focus: You save me from violence.
Pray for those who are victims of violence – whether domestic violence, systemic violence from oppressive social situations or governments, or the violence of war. Ask God to protect them and lead them into safety. Trust that God is moving our world toward peace. Consider getting involved in ministries and agencies that help victims of violence, such as shelters for abused women or refugee service organizations.
Meditation Focus: The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.
Begin by stilling yourself, finding a comfortable place and posture for reflection. Breathe in deeply through your nose, taking in the presence of God’s Spirit and letting the Spirit fill your mind. Breathe out deeply through your mouth, releasing all of the confusion or preoccupations of the mind. As you continue to breathe deeply, pray silently to God: “God and Creator of my mind center my thoughts upon you.”
Look at the four photographs above. Where do you see God in these images? Is God the sturdy reminder of love standing firm in the desert? Is God the cornerstone that lifts up and supports the temple of your being? Perhaps God is the high and majestic mountain that rises over the horizon in awesome power. Maybe God is the firm foundation that cannot be moved by the raging elements.
Imagine yourself in one of these scenarios – encountering an unmovable reminder of love within the wasteland; being constructed into a holy place as day by day a brick of your true self is placed upon the foundation of God’s character and work; dwarfed by the wonder of the mountain as you stand in its long shadow, looking up so that you can barely see its apex; or standing in freedom and triumph upon the solid rock of God’s being and grace. Feel the smooth surface, weathered by the winds and rains so that only what is good and strong remains. Watch as you grow wider and taller upon the cornerstone of wisdom and mercy. Hear the echoes of one calling to you from the summit. Push down with your feet upon your foundation and notice how it refuses to give way.
Know that you are in the presence of God. What do you notice about God? What do you realize about yourself? How do you feel? What is God communicating to you? God is the rock, solid and sure, establishing you, mighty and majestic, and holding you up.
Journaling Focus: Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
What does it mean for you to build your life upon Christ? How can you live out this wise practice of hearing and acting upon the words of Christ? This week, spend some time reflecting on these questions as you write. How have you already been hearing and acting upon the words of Christ? How might you hear them more clearly and build your life upon them more faithfully? In what ways is your life still built upon shifting sand?
Go outside, brave the cold, and find a rock – any rock that appeals to you. Carry it with you as a reminder of God’s strong presence. Hold it while you pray. Show someone your rock and tell them how God has been your strength and foundation in life.
Breath Prayer: Father, you are our rock.