Near the Valley of Salt, in a deep valley surrounded by high mountains, is the city of Petra. In Bible times, it is believed that the only way into this city and valley was through a long, narrow cleft in rocks that were as high as 250 feet. This natural defense was where the nation of Edom lived and successfully defended themselves. Obadiah 1:3 describes them as those who "dwellest in the clefts of the rock" (places of safety).
It was a time of repentance for Israel. God was angry because of the calf they had made and worshiped. Moses was interceding with God on Israel's behalf, and he asked God, "Shew me now thy way, that I may know thee [understand God's nature and character] . . . Shew me thy glory." Moses greatly desired a closer relationship with God. God told Moses, "There is a place ['a clift'] by me" where Moses could see the goodness and glory of God. This "clift" was where Moses' request (to know God in a greater way) was answered.
Many Scriptures describe God as "the Rock." First Samuel 2:2 says, "Neither is there any rock like our God." However, we cannot have a close relationship with God for our "sins have hid his face from" us (Isaiah 59:2). When we come to God, repenting of our sins, God places us in a "clift of the rock." Jesus provided this "clift" when He was beaten, wounded, and crucified. Just as God covered Moses with His hand (verse 22), the blood of Jesus covers all our sins. It is in this "clift" that we find safety, salvation, and refuge. It is where our "life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). Thank God for the "place by me," the "clift of the rock" (Jesus), that has made a way for us to be saved and have a close relationship with God!
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee. —Augustus M. Toplady
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