At the end of Moses’ life, he gathered the children of Israel and sang them a song, recorded in Deuteronomy 32. In the song, he affirmed the greatness of God, who he called “the Rock,” and he prophesied with sorrow that the people would turn away from Him: “Jeshurun [Israel] waxed fat, and kicked;… then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” And he added, “Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18).
Years later, King David sang a song of gratitude after being delivered from all of his enemies by God. Borrowing Moses’ metaphor, he said, “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation” (2 Samuel 22:47).
A singer in his court, Ethan the Ezrahite, incorporated this imagery into a psalm he wrote. In the psalm, God expresses approval of King David, saying, “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (Psalm 89:26).
Nephi and his brother Jacob internalized this phrase and used it to express the solid foundation the Savior can provide in our lives. “O Lord, I will praise thee forever,” wrote Nephi; “yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (2 Nephi 4:30). And Jacob urged their people, “Turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation” (2 Nephi 9:45). (See also Jacob 7:25.)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland reminded us that the purpose of the Church is to help us center our lives on Christ:
Consider the swirl of bold initiatives and new announcements in the Church in these recent months. As we minister to one another, or refine our Sabbath experience, or embrace a new program for children and youth, we will miss the real reason for these revelatory adjustments if we see them as disparate, unrelated elements rather than as an interrelated effort to help us build more firmly on the Rock of our Salvation. Surely, surely, this is what President Russell M. Nelson intends in having us use the revealed name of the Church. If Jesus—His name, His doctrine, His example, His divinity—can be at the center of our worship, we will be reinforcing the great truth Alma once taught: “There be many things to come; [but] behold, there is one thing which is of more importance than they all— … the Redeemer [who] liveth and cometh among his people.”“The Message, the Meaning, and the Multitude,” General Conference, October 2019
The hymn “O Thou Rock of Our Salvation” urges us to build on that foundation. With the additional image of Christ as our standard-bearer, the hymn reminds us that safety and victory will come as we stay close to Him and draw on His strength. I hope you enjoy this arrangement of the hymn by Mack Wilberg:
Today I will be mindful of the Rock of my salvation. I will draw close to Him, knowing that He has the power to help me overcome every obstacle I face.