Back-in-the-day I was a “Hair Band” kind of guy. Of course, in the 80s a lot of us were cranking up the metal, but one song (even then) perplexed me; Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages”. No, it wasn’t the strange four-word count down at the beginning; the problem was that while liking the sound, I knew in my heart the title words had deeper meaning. Years later, I heard the back-story of how the band found a hymn book in the studio (opened to “Rock of Ages”) and it prompted the lyrics for their song…makes sense, uh, I guess.
As the years have passed, the rock tune has faded for me, but the hymn has remained (funny how childhood memories show back up). At the time we were singing it in church, I never realized it would stay with me. Lately I’ve been reminded of the powerful words and it’s a shame that the rock tune will be belted out in arenas all over the world this year, but the crowds won’t hear about the real Rock…Christ (1 Cor. 10:4).
Perhaps you would like to refresh your memory with the words from the original “Rock of Ages”. If so, here they are (and they’re great even without pyrotechnics or light show):
(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, cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.
(2) Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone; Thou must save and Thou alone.
(3) Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy 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!
(4) While I draw this fleeting breathe, when my 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.”
– Augustus Toplady 1740-1778