Christ, the Solid Rock

Famous Hymn's Background

I sometimes find myself singing the chorus of a familiar hymn. It is as if I cannot get it out of my mind.

As I sing, the lyrics flow freely, even if I am not exactly on key. Periodically I must remind my wife that the Bible says nothing about staying on key – it says to make a joyful noise. And that's what I am doing. The lyrics I sing are this: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand. And as I sing, my soul soars in adoration to God.

I sing it so many times that it once prompted my wife to go to her computer and research the history of the hymn. She found it was written by Edward Mote, who was brought up in a non-religious environment in London. His parents managed a pub and had no time for God or spiritual matters.

However, in the wondrous sovereignty of God, Edward was exposed to the Gospel at age 18 and trusted Christ as Savior. For the next 37 years of his life as a committed Christian, Mote worked as a cabinet maker.

One morning in 1834 as he was walking to work, his heart was filled with the things of God and he felt constrained to write a hymn. The words came to him quickly and by the time he reached work, the chorus was firmly fixed in his mind as he repeated it over and over again. The words were these: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.

God-Glorifying Lyrics

Before the day was over, he would write four more stanzas for his hymn. He began with these inspiring words:

My hope is built on nothing less

than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame,

but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

What a testimony to salvation by grace through faith apart from human effort. He continued:

When Darkness veils his lovely face,

I rest on his unchanging grace.

In every high and stormy gale,

my anchor holds within the veil.

What a testimony to God's immutability and the believer's security. And, out of his good Bible background, more words made their way to his heart and mind. He wrote:

His oath, His covenant, His blood,

Support me in the whelming flood.

When all around my soul gives way,

He then is all my Hope and Stay.

What a testimony to God's faithfulness to His Word – what His mouth has spoken His right arm of power will perform. God is not a man that He should lie. He will keep His oath and covenant. And by the end of the day, Edward Mote wrote his fourth stanza;

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh may I then in Him be found.

Dressed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne.

What a testimony to the blessed hope of resurrection or rapture at Christ's second coming. And then came his now famous refrain:

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand,

All other ground is sinking sand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

What a testimony to the unflinching confidence in Christ alone for all things. All around is quicksand that wants to suck men and women down and suffocate them. Christ is the solid Rock and He wants to lift humanity up and give them celestial air to breathe.

At the age of 55, Mote was ordained into the ministry. He became the pastor of a Baptist church in Horsham, Sussex, England, and for the next 21 years he did not miss a Sunday in the pulpit. Mote lived out what he had written: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

It's All About ‘Focus'

Focus is a word that has become very popular in recent years. If you want to achieve and be successful in life, you are told that you must focus. Professional athletes must focus; students must focus; business professionals must focus. Focus is an in word.

I think it's true – if a people want to be successful in life, they must focus. However, it is the object of that focus which is important. It's right to focus on education, employment, a mate, family, finances, and other important issues of life. But these should all be subservient to one's focus on God. Everything should be built upon that Rock. Edward Mote had it right: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

In the day in which we live, a thousand drummers are beating out a cadence and asking us to march to it. However, if it is not a cadence from God, we must refuse to march to those drummers. There are 10,000 voices calling for our time, energy, and possessions. However, if they are not voices from God, we must refuse to listen to those voices.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the still point in a world that has gone crazy in every area of human endeavor and is heading at high speed for a collision with its Creator. In this world of overrated pleasures and overrated treasures, and which will soon pass away, there is only one place of safety, peace, joy, and excitement.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

He is my Rock in a weary land. It is my hope and prayer that He is also your Rock. All else is sinking sand. Our weakness is made perfect in His strength!

Marv Rosenthal, founder and President of Zion's Hope, has been an acclaimed international Bible teacher for more than five decades.