The Rock – The Incredible Journey

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The Rock – The Incredible Journey

Matobo’s Hills in Zimbabwe are home to some of the most majestic granite scenery in the world. The hills here provide a stunning and otherworldly landscape of balancing rocks, known as kopjes, giant boulders awkwardly teetering on top of one another. The massive rock formations are awesome in their grandeur and create a unique atmosphere. These great boulders have weathered in place to create tremendous rock sculptures that balance precariously on top of one another in defiance of gravity. This is a place that has awed and inspired humans since the dawn of history. The San bushmen left their paintings here in the caves and rock cliffs 2,000 years ago and when the Ndebele people came here they believed that there were spiritual messages associated with these great rocks. When you see this magnificent, powerful and mysterious landscape it’s easy to understand why Matobos is considered the spiritual home of Zimbabwe and these great rocks really do carry a message and tell a story that reaches far beyond this country, it’s a story that reaches to the ends of the earth, it’s a story that even reaches to your heart and mind. So stay with us and join me on a journey to explore Matobo Hills, this world of rock wonders and hear a story that carries a message that could inspire you and change your life forever There can be fewer finer examples of beauty and mystery of the natural world than in Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills, here you find some of the most beautiful rock formations in the world, with giant boulders precariously balancing on top of each other, that defy belief that they can manage to keep holding on to their amazing position. The Matobo Hills are composed entirely of granite and have an average height of 1500 meters and together cover an area of over 3,000 square kilometres. Right across this area there’s a range of domes spires and balancing rock formations that have been sculpted out of the solid granite plateau through thousands of years of erosion and weathering People have interacted with and been inspired by these dramatic rock formations for thousands of years. The San Bushmen, a tribe of hunter-gatherers lived among the huge boulders in these hills about 2,000 years ago and left a rich heritage of rock paintings. Hidden away in the caves and rock shelters of the Matobos Hills are over 3,000 rock art sites giving it the greatest density of ancient painted sites anywhere in the world. Most of the art was painted here about 1,600 years ago. This superb collection of rock art includes beautiful freezes of elephants, giraffes, kudu and other wild animals that inhabited the area. These are symbols and illustrations of the Bushman’s deepest religious feelings, an understanding of the reality of life around them The bushman’s simple art style and techniques have endured the centuries and withstood the rigours of time. The paintings provide an insight into the lifestyle and activities of these foraging societies that lived among the rock formations centuries ago

Later, the hills and balancing rocks were considered sacred by the Ndebele people, they were a Bantu-speaking nation, historically known as the Matabele They traveled north from Zululand in South Africa and settled here under the leadership of their warrior chief Mzilikazi. When chief Mzilikazi first saw the amazing granite boulders here he likened the ball rocks to the bald heads of his senior counsellors and renamed the hills Metobo, which derives from the Matabele word for bald-headed. In colonial times Metobo Hills became the favourite location of businessman, politician and imperialist empire builder Cecil Rhodes, in fact he loved the place so much that he chose this as his final resting place, his grave carved from the rock is marked by a brass plaque at the aptly named ‘World’s View’, a vantage point high up on the rocks The boulders, hills and valleys provide a variety of habitats for wildlife and plenty of game is found throughout the Matobos Hills, many of the animals depicted in the rock art of the Bushmen are still found roaming the area, there are however no lions or elephants which means that you can walk freely amongst the hills and explore them on your own and view the wild animals as well There are plenty of elegant impala here, they’re one of the most common and most graceful antelope in the African Bushveld. They’ve got a white belly and a black stripe that extends from the top of the rump down the back of each thigh Only the rams have horns which is shaped like a lyre, the Impala is preyed upon by most of the large carnivore and so they’re on constant alert. Should one of them spot danger it will snort an alarm and the whole herd will scatter, they’re renowned for their spectacular leaps over shrubs and bushes when they’re alarmed or threatened and it’s one of the treats offered by nature to see this antelope perform their incredible 3 meter high and 12 meter long leaps. The tallest animal on earth is also found in the Matobos area, giraffe grow to between five and six metres tall, that’s taller than three humans, their long legs and necks help them to eat leaves at the top of tall trees that other animals can’t reach, they have long tongues that can grow to a whopping 53 centimeter and no teeth at the front of their top jaw which allows them to rip leaves from branches. These gentle giants of the African bushveldt may look slow and ungainly, however when they need to they can reach up to 50 kilometres an hour over short distances The valleys and grasslands between the hills are home to herds of zebra, these black and white beauties are social creatures and live together in large herds and will sometimes team up with other grazers such as antelope and wildebeest. They spend most of their day eating grass and are constantly on the move looking for fresh grass to eat and water to drink and their most famous feature? Their brilliant black and white striped coat of course, so why do zebras have stripes? Well we’re not entirely sure but some believe they dazzle and confuse predators and biting insects or they control the animals’ body heat. Because each individual stripes are unique their stripes may also have a social purpose, helping zebras to recognise one another Matobos contains Zimbabwe’s highest concentration of rhino, both black and white species, these fabulous creatures are known for their awesome giant horns that grow from their snouts and that’s where their name comes from; rhinoceros means nose horn. Rhinos are some of the biggest animals in the world, the white

rhino can grow to nearly 2 meters tall and weigh a massive 2,500 kilograms, that’s the weight of about 30 men, but despite their huge size and strength these bulky beasts don’t prey on other animals for food, they’re herbivores and instead like to munch on lots of grass and plants during the heat of the day, they like to wallow in muddy pools or rest under shady trees to cool off They usually cover themselves in mud to protect their skin from the strong sun and ward off biting bugs too. Sadly the Rhinos very existence is threatened, today they’re in danger of becoming extinct in the wild it’s estimated that there are only around 29,000 rhinos left in the wild today compared to half a million at the beginning of the 20th century. The main threat to these magnificent animals is poaching or illegal hunting, largely because their horns are used in traditional folk medicine, particularly in Asia Today their horns are more valuable than gold and so poachers kill them for their horns Wild animals in rock art are wonderful attractions in the Matobos area, however the most notable thing about Matobos are the amazing rock formations and the hills, these hills have provided shelter and refuge for people during troubled times, they provided security and sustenance and have been a haven for humans for thousands of years, the grandeur and peacefulness of these hills is immense and it’s contributed to their hallowed reputation, they’re a reminder that hills and grand rocks have awed and inspired humans through the ages and this is certainly true of David, Israel’s greatest and most loved King, David was the lowly shepherd boy who defeated Goliath, became king, formed Israel into a nation, established Jerusalem as its capital and ushered in Israel’s golden age No wonder he’s Israel’s greatest and most loved King and his name is mentioned more than any other name in the Bible but it’s not as a great warrior or mighty King that David won the everlasting love of his people and indeed of people around the world, rather he did it as the author of The Book of Psalms, the sweetest poetry of Israel, he wrote dozens of Psalms, some of the most touching and beautiful poetry ever written and that’s why people love and remember David. Throughout the ages his poetry, The Book of Psalms, has served as a boundless source of inspiration, courage and hope and David wrote about the hills and grand rocks, for example here’s what he wrote in Psalm 121 verses 1 and 2: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Did you notice what David did when he needed help? He looked up, he looked up to the Lord who made heaven and earth, he’s saying the almighty God of creation is a sure thing; powerful, dependable, I see his power displayed in the hills and in the world around me, I know that I can trust him Now let’s face it, there are times when we all need help, when we wake up feeling burdened, anxious, thoughts whirling, wondering how we’re going to cope with the challenges of life. Ever been there? Do you need help? I know I do, where do you look for help? Let me share something personal with you I’ve been through some tough times recently, really challenging, soul destroying, even though I believe the truth and know that God’s in control there was a real battle in my heart and in my mind, I started to worry and doubt, fear crept in, I started looking all around in my desperate search for help, I lost focus because I got distracted by all the things that can never really give us

strength and hope, anyway I found that people won’t ever be able to answer for every need we have. Money and success can’t satisfy our deepest needs, I also realised that this world will never be free of all conflict, it’s even found in the most unexpected places and there’s only one source of true help when we’re really in need, I read this Psalm again, read it like never before, and instead of looking all around I looked up. Psalm 121 is one of the Bible passages that gave me hope and got me through and so I want to share it with you today because I can assure you from personal experience that whatever problems you’re facing, whatever challenge may appear about to overwhelm you, whatever mistakes you have made, there is hope, there is help Notice Psalm 121 again “I will lift up my eyes to the hills From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth, you can count on God; he’s reliable, he’s the Creator who made heaven and earth, he’s all-powerful, his power is displayed in the world around us and he’s with us always, we know that we can trust him. Notice as we read further in Psalm 121 verses 3 & 4 “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Sometimes we may find ourselves on slippery slopes or the path we’re walking on seems to be full of potholes and obstacles, we may be in danger of losing our sure footing, we may stumble, but as long as our eyes are fixed on him, God keeps us from falling, he keeps our footsteps firm, for he watches over us as our Sleepless Guardian and never loses sight of us, now we come to verses 5 & 6: “The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.” God is our keeper, our protector and provider, he keeps us safe in his care, he protects us like the shade protects from the heat of the day, no matter how the trials of the day may heat up, no matter what catastrophes might befall us, God gives us the strength to keep going and here’s this Psalm’s final promise; “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” God protects us from all evil; both external and internal. Evil doesn’t have to have the final say in our lives, God watches over us constantly, his eyes are on us, he cannot look away from those he loves He watches our coming and our going and all in between, He watches over our family and our children, He is our keeper, so when you need hope for your day, when you’re discouraged, struggling or weary here’s hope from the Psalms, hope from the Almighty God who made the hills and the rocks, David didn’t only write about the hills, he also often directs our attention to the rocks and in particular to the mighty rock, the rock of ages. Throughout the Psalms David refers to God as his Rock, notice what he says here in Psalms chapter 18 and verse 2: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer, My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” David says ‘God is my rock’, he is a solid foundation, he is immovable, unshakable,

faithful and reliable. In times of trouble God is our source of strength, he is our refuge where we can find peace and safety from harm, when you hold a rock in your hand and squeeze it hard, what happens? Does it squish or change? No, it stays strong and doesn’t change and that’s how God is, because he’s so strong he can keep us safe. There are some challenges, some storms of life that we just can’t hide from, you know the kind the sudden illness, the financial mess, the unexpected loss of a loved one, the heartbreaking betrayal of a friend, these storms can sweep into our lives quickly and suddenly or build up over time until they’re raging all around us, when they come they threaten to shake us to the core and there is nowhere we can hide from them, or is there? David talks about a rock in whom we can take refuge, this rock is strong, so impenetrable that it’s protection insures we cannot be shaken, even by the fiercest storm, God is our rock, the powerful God who created this world and everything that exists, who has power even over death itself, is the rock we can run to when the storms of life blow all around us. Here’s what David wrote in Psalm 62 verses 7 & 8: “My honour and my salvation come from God; He is my mighty rock and my protection People, trust God all the time; Tell Him your problems, because God is our protection.” We know we can trust God’s power to protect us because he has proven his love, the same love that moved him to give his son in our place on the cross moves him to use his power to guard and protect us in our lives now. So when the storms blow in, and you know they will, find your security in the mighty rock, the rock of ages’. Hide yourself in the loving and all-powerful arms of God, trust him to keep you safe and not be shaken, always remember that your God loves and cares about you and your family and all that you’re going through every minute Never forget that your God is with you in the good days and the difficult days He will never leave you nor forsake you, why not call to him today as we pray and allow him to be your rock and your refuge? Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your reminders that you are with us, thank you for watching over our coming and going and you neither slumber or sleep, thank you for your constant care, that you are our help and strength in the daily battles that we face, thank you that you are our protector and defender against the schemes of the enemy and the evil that tries to overtake us We are safe with you, our Rock, The Rock of Ages We choose today to keep our eyes off our problems and fixed solely on you, we choose to look up, for you alone are our hope, please bless us now, in Jesus’ name we pray, amen The Matobos Hills in Zimbabwe are home to some of the most majestic granite scenery in the world, the hills here provide a stunning landscape of balancing rocks awkwardly teetering on top of one another, these great rocks have provided a place of refuge and of awe and inspired humans through the ages and they carry a message that reaches to the ends of the earth, that even reaches to your heart and mine, these rocks remind us that we need a rock, a place of refuge where we can find true peace and safety in times of stress and danger. We too need a rock that’s strong, reliable and enduring, if you’re battling the challenges of life and are looking for a rock that you can depend on, a rock that will always protect you and never let you down, then I’d like to recommend the

free gift we have for all our viewers today; it’s the booklet called ‘The Best Insurance Policy In The World’. This book is our gift to you and is absolutely free, there are no costs or obligations whatsoever, thousands have been blessed and inspired by this book; The Best Insurance Policy In The World. So please don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today Here’s the information you need: phone or text us at 0436 333 555 or visit our website to request today’s free offer and we’ll send it to you – totally free of charge and with no obligation So don’t delay, call or text 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 in New Zealand or visit our website to request today’s offer Write to us at PO Box 5101, Dora Creek, New South Wales 2264, Australia Or PO Box 76673, Manukau, Auckland 2241 New Zealand Don’t delay, phone or text 0436 333 555 in Australia or 020 422 2042 in New Zealand or visit our website to request today’s free offer Call or text us now If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey to the Matobos hills and the great balancing rocks of Zimbabwe and our reflections on the rock of ages, be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the peace, insight, understanding and hope that only the Bible can give us The Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives, until next week remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey; “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”