Some years ago, while living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I needed to do something about a rather steep hill alongside the driveway leading to the house. During rain storms, for about twenty feet or so along the drive, water flowed down the bank eroding the soil, which washed into the drive. My solution was to build a small retaining wall out of some small, flat stones that I removed from the back of the house. The irregularly shaped stones, carefully placed adjacent to one another in a row, made the first row. The second row I placed so that it was set back several inches as well as each stone overlapping the gap formed between the stones in the first row. The third row I set likewise. Finally, after ten or so rows, the wall was done.
The most important part of the job, I discovered, was in selecting the precise stone to fit particular place in the wall. In some cases, I would pick up a stone, try it, then set it aside. Occasionally, I did this several times before the “right” stone was found to fit. I tried, once, to break a stone and force fit it. It broke in the wrong place, and both pieces were set aside until their right place became apparent.
The Apostle Peter, in his first letter, wrote about Y’shuaJesus being a living stone.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. . .
1 Peter 2:4
Peter compares Y’shuaJesus to a stone that is “disallowed” by men. While I built my wall, I set aside stones, but eventually found a place for them. In Peter’s letter, we see that Y’shuaJesus is not just shown as set aside, but disallowed. As far as humankind is concerned, Y’shuaJesus has no place in society; people have no need for Him. Yet, as Peter tells us, G-d selected Y’shuaJesus to be the perfect stone for our world.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1 Peter 2:6
The picture Peter wants us to see is a building in which G-d sets Y’shuaJesus as the chief corner stone. According to the Heritage Dictionary, a cornerstone is a stone at the corner of a building uniting two intersecting walls. Such a stone, often inscribed, laid at a ceremony marking the origin of a building. It is also an indispensable and fundamental basis: the cornerstone of an argument.
Some years ago, I recall a sermon in which the pastor said it wasn’t cornerstone at all, but cap stone. He went on to describe the building of a stone arch, and how the masons picked up and tried many stones to get them to fit into place as they built the wall, discarding ones that didn’t fit. In the end, a discarded stone is used to form the cap, the last stone placed, that holds the arch together. While that illustration is interesting, and for some time thought it accurately described the scripture’s intent, it is wrong. As I’m thinking about it now, it really misses the mark, so to speak. It has the masons selecting and discarding, and finally picking up a discarded stone and finding that it fits. That’s a bit arrogant. But then isn’t that what so much preaching is about these days: making Y’shuaJesus fit into our lives?
In the scripture, G-d selects the stone the builders’ discarded. That means if the builders continued, they’d build something false, without a true foundation. Those builders are “confounded.” They are mistaken. The building must begin with the cornerstone and the cornerstone is selected by G-d.
When we come to know Y’shuaJesus as Lord, it is often described as being born again. If we take Peter’s illustration of Y’shuaJesus being the cornerstone selected by G-d, then our lives before Messiah need to be rebuilt with the Lord as our cornerstone. We must build our lives based upon Y’shuaJesus. We must build our lives based upon His Truth.
And from time to time it’s not a bad idea to re-examine the building of our lives to see if it’s coming along according to G-d’s architectural drawings, and not ours.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .