Wisdom Wednesday : Wisdom of the Builders PART 1
The Builders that Rejected the Cornerstone
Submitted by Debbie’s Dad
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:22–24 NASB)
The Scriptures speak of wise builders in several passages throughout the Old and New Testaments, and in this series, we are examining the references and the insight they provide about building a wise life. We begin today in Part 1 by looking, first, at some foolish builders.
Peter used this Psalm as he spoke boldly to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem in the very early days of proclaiming the gospel (Acts 4:11) and specifically accused them as the builders that rejected the stone described in Psalm 118:22. In this, he specifically identified the leaders as those who rejected the Messiah.
The same concept of the builders’ rejection is introduced in Peter’s first Epistle, chapter 2:4-8 where, Peter explains how Jesus is the cornerstone of the church of genuine believers, yet He was rejected by the orthodoxy of Judaism. The image is that of the builders of a stone building, selecting large stones to be placed in the structure and mistaking the perfect stone of preeminence for the cornerstone! They set the cornerstone of a building. It’s first, defining the orientation of all other stones in the building. Peter cites the Psalm 118 passage, as well as 2 passages in Isaiah [the three passages are in italics and the citations are in brackets]:
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” [citing Isaiah 28:16]
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,” [citing Psalm 118:22]
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” [citing Isaiah 8:14);
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Peter 2:4–8 NASB)
Peter pointed out that believers in Jesus were like stones in a building—living stones being built into a living building—the church of believers. Citing Isaiah 28:16, he points out that the Messiah was established as the cornerstone in Jerusalem and believers were not disappointed in Him; furthermore, those who rejected him (unbelievers) were like foolish builders that rejected the prize stone. And finally, he cites Isaiah 8:14, where the prophet asserts the Messiah became the stone on which the leaders stumbled.
Peter used the “foolish builder” imagery from the Hebrew Scriptures to remind new believers scattered throughout Asia Minor’s Roman provinces that they appeared rejected, like their Savior. He, too, was rejected.
By inference, there were wise builders at the time of Jesus-many of them. Consider two wise builders. Simeon, described as “… righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him”, immediately recognized Jesus when He was presented at the temple as a child. (Luke 2:25) Similarly, the 84-year-old Anna was a spiritual woman (Luke 2: 36-38) who also recognized Jesus, and “continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke2:38). Neither heard Jesus’ preaching, nor saw him performing miracles, but they recognized the Messiah enabled by the Spirit. These were wise builders, genuine Hebrew believers that sought the Lord and identified the cornerstone.
May we be wise builders, recognizing the true cornerstone of the church and be the living stones that offer spiritual sacrifices of our life to serve the Lord.