“Rock of Ages” by Augustus M. Topladyby Dr. Zelda Robinson on March 21, 2022
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee!” Is a hymn that expresses complete confidence in the One who can provide safety and protection. Deuteronomy 32:4 refers to Yahweh as the Rock. It says, “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” He provides a hiding place for us to retreat to amid dangers and rest.
There are many stories throughout the bible where God speaks from mountains. Whenever I travel to the western regions of the United States, I am reminded by the mountains that God provides refuge amid the mountains. I remember the story of Elijah who hid in the cleft of the Rock while run from Jezebel. He found shelter in the cleft of the Rock. Moses also confirms through Psalm 91 that we can depend on God to cover and protect us, no matter what we face in life.
This hymn was written by Augustus Montague Toplady, an Anglican preacher and hymn writer. Legend has it that Reverend Toplady was inspired to write the words of this hymn when he was traveling and got caught in a fierce storm in England. He sought shelter in the gap of a gorge that was near him. The rocky cliff had a deep crevice that was wide enough for him to hid inside. While in that sheltering in the cleft of the cliff, he thought about how, by faith, we can find shelter in Christ Jesus from the storms of life and judgment. Although there are some who argue the legitimacy of this story, whether the story is true or not, one thing is for sure, Christ is the Rock that we can look to for shelter. When we are faced with an enemy, God’s people can hide in Rock.
Reverend Toplady died at age thirty-eight, but he wrote several hymns but “Rock of Ages” is by far his most famous.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law’s commands;
could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.
Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deuteronomy 32:1-4