“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. . . . For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. (Isa. 51:1-3)
There are many encouraging passages in Scripture on God as a cornerstone and a Rock, but one has stood out to me above all others, stopping me in my tracks of pain and calling me to hope. It speaks to the deepest longings in our hearts, the restoration of not just all that has been lost in our personal lives, but all that has been lost in our world since Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden.
He is the Source
The prophet Isaiah tells his listeners in verse 1 to look to the rock from which you were cut. This Rock who is our foundation, our cornerstone that bears the weight under us, is also our Source. He is the quarry from which we were dug, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). And He comforts Zion, renewing her like Eden, making her desert places a garden of the Lord.
The Rock Restores Us
Zion renewed. Eden restored. At the deepest level in our souls, this is what we long for. We long for all wrongs to be made right. For sickness and death to end. For harmony and peace to reign in both nature and our personal relationships. As we daily carry our weights of responsibilities in our homes and community, we long for Eden. But God promises that we are marching forward toward a land restored like Eden. We struggle now because we are longing for this home. But that home is approaching.
The prophet Isaiah, who exhorted us to look to the Rock from which we were cut also says in Isaiah 25:8: “He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.”
The Rock Protects Us
Death and decay stalk us all. Our own bodies break down daily. Many have parents or other loved ones on death’s door or already over the threshold. But in 1 Corinthians 15:55-58, the apostle Paul wants us to know that Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled through Christ.
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
When Jesus paid for our sins and rose from the dead, he robbed death of its power over us. Hebrews 2:14 says that through Christ’s death, He destroyed the one who held the power of death, “that is, the devil.” Death no longer has the last word over any of us.
Considering death’s emasculation, Paul exhorted believers in 1 Corinthians 15 to be steadfast and immovable in the work of the Lord because their labor wouldn’t be in vain. Death can no longer destroy us or our legacy, so keep your hand to the plow in the work God has given you.
Do you know what is steadfast and immovable? A rock.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. (Isa. 51:1)
The Rock Changes Us
Despite the death and decay that threaten to destroy us, we can be steadfast and immovable in the work of Christ because we are rocks too, dug from the quarry of the Rock of Israel Himself. He is the cornerstone or keystone, the Rock we are founded on, and the Rock positioned to bear the brunt of the weights on us. We are cut from the same pit of rock as Him. Because He bears the center of the weight, we who are built on Him, made from Him, in union with Him, have the necessary foundation to bear up under responsibilities that would crush us without Him.
The weights you bear would crush you without God your Rock, without the keystone bearing the brunt of the weight and holding the arch that is your life together. The death of loved ones, dire medical diagnoses, financial stress, betrayal of a friend–these would all ruin us without the Rock of Israel shepherding us through it. These things knock us off our base into a pit without a foothold. But we were made from a bigger, firmer Rock, and He will lift us back up. What threatens to destroy us, or our loved ones won’t actually destroy us. The years the locust have eaten will be restored (Joel 2:25). Our wilderness will be made like Eden. Our desert will become a garden.
This is our hope in Christ. Death has lost its long-term power, and God is going to restore the desert places with gardens like Eden. You have hard work to do today, but there is a Rock holding you up that will keep you from falling. Look to the Rock from which you were cut, for He is your cornerstone who bears the weight of these days for you.