He Set My Feet upon a Rock
James Smith, 1860
"He lifted me out of the horrible pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:2
In what danger, in what misery, in what distress I was once. In the horrible pit, where all was dark, sinking in the miry mud — all hope expiring. How I was racked with doubt. How my soul was tormented with fears. Hell appeared open before me, and destruction was stripped of its covering. Despondency ruled within me, and despair brooded over me.
But just as hope departed, just as my case appeared desperate, the Lord appeared. A ray of light shone into the pit. My eye was attracted upward. The presence of God was realized. My soul cried from its very depths, "Lord, save me, or I perish!" I felt his hand reach me, grasp me. Hope sprung up within me. Confidence gave courage to plead. He brought me up out of the horrible pit, be delivered me from the miry clay, and "he set in my feet upon a rock." That rock was Christ. The whole weight of my soul's salvation rested on him. I entrusted myself entirely to him. That moment I had peace. I felt safe. I was happy.
"He set my feet upon a rock." I was above danger. I was safe from my foes. The horrible pit was below me. The surges and waves of the sea of wrath dashed and died at its foot. I was out of the reach of all. I felt I was on a firm foundation. I was on a rock that never moves. Above me shone the bright sun. Over me floated the fleecy clouds. Around me blew the refreshing gales, which gently fanned me. More than this would have been Heaven.
O what a contrast to the murky darkness of the pit, to the chilling effect of the miry clay. I was on the rock just where I longed to be. I was on the rock, where I hope forever to be.
"He set my feet upon a rock." The position was healthy. No fogs, no swamps, no unhealthy exhalations here. I breathe the pure air of Heaven. I can pour out my soul freely. I can join the song of the lark.
I hold sweet and hallowed fellowship with God.
No gloomy fears harass me.
No enervating unbelief enfeebles me.
No tempting devil has power over me.
All my wounds are healed.
All my debts are discharged.
All charges against me are met.
I have been cleansed in the fountain.
I am clothed in the best robe.
I have received the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for t'le spirit of heaviness.
I am strong to labor.
I can carry my cross.
I have buckled on my armor, and stand prepared to meet the foe.
"He set my fret upon a rock." I am happy. The sting of death is gone. The dread of Hell is removed. The fear of condemnation is done away. I see that . . .
God is my Father,
Jesus is my Savior,
the Holy Spirit is my Comforter,
and Heaven is my final home.
I see the rainbow in the cloud.
I read my title to the inheritance.
I have already had some sweet foretastes of glory.
The indwelling Spirit is the pledge of my eternal inheritance.
What shall I fear?
Of whom shall I be afraid?
The cross is the ground of my hope.
The promises are my security.
God himself is my portion.
Here I am on the rock — a rock that never decays — a rock from which neither earth or Hell can remove me. I am on a firm foundation. I have firm footing. I am safe, not only safe — but healthy, not only healthy — but happy.
How did I get on the rock? The Lord led me to it, and he set me up upon it. From whence did I come to the rock? From the horrible pit, and the miry clay. What should be my employment here? "Let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains!" If I sing, what shall be my song? Grace, free grace, distinguishing grace, omnipotent grace, unchanging grace. O what a privilege to be on the rock!
And what a sweet thought, once on the rock, on the rock forever. No billows of temptation can wash me off — no winds of error can blow me off — neither men nor devils can drive me off — and Jesus never takes his eye off me, lest I should become heedless and fall off. Blessed rock, high above the reach of danger; immutable, above the power of change — eternal, affording a refuge that can never fail. Lord, give me daily to feel my standing, to enjoy my privilege, and to praise you for your glorious grace.
Reader, are you on the rock, or in the horrible pit? There is no safety, no-health of soul, no solid happiness, until your feet are set upon the rock, the rock of ages!