Rocks and Flint
Psalm 114 invites us into a world of poetic metaphor with mountains skipping, seas fleeing, and an animated earth trembling before YHWH who, according to verse 8, turns the rock into a pool of water and the flint into a fresh spring.
Rocks and flint. Rocks are used as metaphors for various things in scripture. Perhaps here we might see a rock as a representation of a common instrument of death. Cain murdered his brother with a rock; condemned people were stoned to death; armies launched huge rocks from catapults. Flint, a form of quartz fashioned historically into knives, arrowheads and spears, likewise may speak of death, war, killing.
Missiles and Uzis have largely replaced catapults and arrows. Hatred and death, anger and fear, prejudice and nationalism, spew forth from tweets and pulpits. Words become rocks and flint.
Pools and fresh pristine springs of water speak to me of life, health, refreshment. Pure unpolluted water, free of contaminants, is essential for all carbon-based life. It is the stuff of which we are made. Symbolically, pure water reminds me of baptismal cleansing, of new life in Christ, of our deepest psychological needs being satiated, and of the quenching of our universal spiritual thirst for meaning and purpose. The words of God are life.
The same Messiah, who at His coming will forge every spear into a pruning hook, is now transforming the instruments of hatred, war, and death into oases of renewal, life, community, refreshment, joy, peace, love, forgiveness and grace. He is doing so through a ragtag fellowship of shalom-loving, shalom-embracing, shalom-spreading people.
Psalm 114 (ESV)
When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.