Quick Links Quick Links

The Rock That Is Higher Than I

by Tim Brown

Recently I found myself studying Romans 4 and one particular section about Abraham caught my eye:

19 “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:19-22 NKJV)

As humans, who always want to know everything about everything, we tend to measure God by the world’s standards. We seem to forget that our amazing God is beyond our “impossibilities.” He is bigger and better than anything we as humans could ever create or make up.

     In the verse above, it speaks of God’s promise to Abraham that he would receive a son. Abraham was about 100 years old, and the English Standard Version even says that he was “as good as dead.” His wife Sarah was unable to have children because of her barrenness. By the world’s scientific standards, this couple having a child was very much impossible. However, it became very evident that God was far more powerful than any scientific method on the earth.

     In this verse Abraham is said to have so much faith that he was “fully convinced that what He[God] had promised He was also able to perform.” As soon as Abraham and Sarah saw the validity of the promise of God, they knew that if God had a plan, He would accomplish it no matter what. Throughout Abraham’s life, he showed that God is so much greater than the world and that there shouldn’t be doubting concerning God’s promises. Abraham wouldn’t limit God to the human body or its supposed capabilities.

     Sometimes we, as Christians, tend to limit what God is calling us to do to what we believe are the capabilities of our own bodies. We make excuses daily. We may say that there’s just “no way” we could preach the gospel with whatever limitations we attach to ourselves. We claim that we aren’t outgoing enough to speak to our friends and family about God. Or that we just don’t know enough of God’s word to help anyone else find Christ. We may even say that we’ve tried a way of outreach once, it didn’t work, and therefore it will never work again. There are so many different excuses we as Christians seem to make regularly, but we always forget that if God has a plan for us, nothing we could make up could truly hinder it, unless we let it.

Throughout the Bible there are numerous examples of people who made excuses when God asked them to do something. The first I always think of is Moses. He gave five, weak excuses for not going to save the Israelites, and God countered every one. He started strong in his excuses:

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)”
     Moses essentially asked God, “why me?” He didn’t understand why God couldn’t choose someone else. Sometimes we use this today. We question how we could possibly make any difference. We question why someone else can’t do the job just as well, if not better. Being a preacher’s kid, I often heard my dad talk about some believing that it was his job to evangelize, but I also remember him reminding others that he didn’t have the same contacts that they did. In most cases, his knowledge of the community was far inferior to that of other members in the congregation. Sure, he had evangelism experience. Sure, he had Bible knowledge. But what he didn’t have, was an open door. He didn’t have the connections that most had to their friends and family. In the case of Moses, he was the man for the job, even with all of his “limitations.” God planned for Moses to save the people, and nothing would change that. He could’ve just as easily chosen Aaron, but he didn’t.

     One of my personal favorite examples of someone who made an excuse to preach the gospel was Jeremiah. When Jeremiah was first called to be a prophet he made a common excuse that I’ve heard many times, and have even caught myself using:

“I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth (Jeremiah 1:6).”

  Jeremiah said he was too young to do the work of the Lord, and I find many using this same excuse today. God’s reply to Jeremiah honestly gives me chills every time I read it:

7“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 1:7,8)”

     God basically says, “if I want you to do this, you’re doing it no matter what excuse you can make.” He even goes on to say that Jeremiah shouldn’t be afraid because He is going to be with him through it all. Not only does God make things happen through our so-called limitations, but He is there throughout our journey of doing His work, ready to create a path in the right direction, as long as we decide to take it. Through all the obstacles the world places in front of us, God always makes a “way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13).”

     We can’t give up on doing God’s work just because we think our bodies aren’t fit for it, or that we aren’t the right person for the job. God shows in Romans 4 that Abraham’s faith was most evident when he believed that God would bring about His promise no matter what obstacles the world placed before him. We can’t measure God’s plan with the world’s ruler. We have to have enough faith in God to believe that if He wants something to happen, it will happen. If God wants us to reach someone with the gospel, it can happen through any limitation we place on ourselves. He is greater than any obstacle the world places before us. 

     In life we will be placed in the treacherous waters of the world, but God can lead us in the right direction if we only let him. I’d like to end with this verse I have been holding close in my heart lately; it has kept me going through the rivers of the world:

“from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I, (Psalms 61:2)”

     I like to think of the world as a dangerous river, as I mentioned above. I envision David drowning in this water, asking for God to lead him to a rock that’s higher up where he can hold on and find salvation. Sometimes we look at the predicament we’re in and think “I’ll never make it there so why even try?” Here, David says that we should ask God to lead us in the right direction. Just as Abraham trusted in God’s will, so we must do. We must not give in to the world’s push and pull. We have to look to God and pray for Him to lead us to the rock of safety that’s above the world’s perilous water. When we think we can’t make it through the water and obey God’s word, we must remember to say this prayer: Lord, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

-Tim Brown  is the Preacher at the Gallatin (TN) Church of Christ



Leave a Reply

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8