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Rock of Ages Cleft For Me Meaning...

By Jonathan Aubuchon in The Summit STL almost 6 years ago | 5153 views Link:

If you are anything like me, hymns can be a little hard to understand at times. But hymns have some of the deepest most profound lyrics that have ever been written. I took some time to write out the deeper meaning of some of the harder lyrics to understand in this song. Take some time to read through it and look up some of the scripture too!

Verse 1:

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.

  1. Jesus Christ is the Rock of Ages who was cleft for us, in whom we can hide, and from whom we receive the living water: 1 Cor. 10.1-4
  2. As the rock who was cleft for us, blood and water flowed from His wounded side: Jn. 19.33-34
  3. This sacrificial death of Christ is of sin the double cure; The blood of Christ is able both to forgive us of our sins and then to break sin’s power that we might be kept pure: Rom. 6.7-9

Verse 2:

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

  1. The labor of our hands can never fulfill the law’s demands because we simply cannot do enough good works to atone for our sins: Tit. 3.5
  2. Thus, we must look to God for the grace that we need to be saved: Eph. 2.8-9
  3. Certainly, we need to have tears for sin and zeal that knows no respite (or rest) in coming to and serving Christ: 2 Cor. 7.10, Rev. 3.19
  4. However, we cannot atone for our sin; Christ alone is the living stone to whom we must come for salvation: 1 Pet. 2.4-10

 Verse 3:

Nothing in my hands 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

  1. There is no price that we can bring; we can only cling to the cross because it represents God’s means to save us: 1 Cor. 1.18-21
  2. Because we are foul (or vile), we must in our helplessness look to Christ as the fountain to wash away sins or we shall surely die, just as the Psalmist looked to the Lord as His rock of refuge: Ps. 31.1-2

 Verse 4:

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.

  1. Someday we shall cease to draw this fleeting breath, and then our eyes shall close in death: Heb. 9.27
  2. After that, we shall soar to worlds unknown and eventually behold Christ on His throne. But Jesus Himself said that when He comes He will sit on His throne of judgment: Matt. 25.31
  3. And when we stand before Him, we can praise Him as the Rock of Ages who will redeem us eternally: Ps. 78.35.

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Linda Wall

Thanks, Jonathan!  You’re right — even tho the style of the words may be unfamiliar to us, the meaning is timeless!  Although this has been a much-used funeral hymn, it’s so intended for LIFE!

Linda Huffman

Also, Exodus 33:18-23:

Moses said, "Please show me your glory. "And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to “whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.  And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

That has always been a great picture in my mind & heart!! And that was my grandma’s favorite hymn, you yesterday when I heard you practicing it, i thought of her.

Kim Orf

It is amazing to me that yesterday was the first time I have ever heard this song. I knew of it before but had never heard it played or sung it. I can see why it is an age-old song that still has great meaning.

Steve Smart

That is indeed a great hymn.

In recent years I’ve begun to think more about the lyrics in worship songs. I have to admit that there are many songs that leave me wondering what they mean, at least for a verse or two. Or I simply don’t share the perspective of the song’s author.

Songs that simply direct worship and praise to God or thank Him for salvation freely given seem pure and simple to me.

The Summit STL

We are a church that …

seeks to honor and shed a huge spot light on the truth of who God really is through everything we do.
is full of broken and sinful people who need the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
is learning that “church” is something we are (the body of Christ), not just something we do.
is a group of people who live a life of mission, we don’t just go on mission trips.
sees every person as valuable and honored by God.
is living in and amongst our community and not a part from it because we know God wants to restore life and culture to Him.
longs to live “real life” together while we live out God’s mission.
realizes WE don’t have a mission; rather God has a mission to live out through His church.

We are not perfect and we are learning to live out these truths above. We have not “arrived”. Where do these truths come from? We believe this is what the gospel of Jesus Christ looks like lived out amongst His people for His glory. Below, you will see how God’s Word, the bible, has completely shaped our mission and vision that we seek to live every day.

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