Some of the most profound truths in life are contained in simple power-proverbs. One such truth is quoted 7 times in the Bible. First, in the Old Testament Psalms and then 6 other times in the New Testament. When something is repeated that many times in God’s word, we should take notice and listen.
Here is the power-proverb:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. –Psalm 118:8
Homes built in the ancient Israel would often use cut stone for the foundation. Public buildings such as palaces, synagogues and temples, would also use stone to lay a foundation and build all the superstructure. The grandest stone building in all of ancient Israel was the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. The Temple was originally the vision and dream of King David. He desired to build a House for the Lord. Only the Lord revealed that it was not for David to do so, but his son Solomon.
Solomon’s Temple was considered one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient World. Sadly, the temple constructed by Solomon was destroyed in 587 when the Babylonian Empire sacked Jerusalem. It would be rebuilt. In Jesus day, King Herod the Great had build a Temple complex to rival King Solomon’s in grandeur. In fact, many of the Jewish people of that day considered it more of a structure built to the glory of Herod, than God. Nevertheless, the foundation and walls of both Solomon’s and Herod the Great’s temples would have been made entirely out of stone.
There were several different professions of people that were involved in the constructing such an edifice: quarrymen, stone masons, builders and the master architect.
First, there were the quarrymen. These are the men who would labor to mine the rock out of the hills. They would mine huge pieces of uncut stone out of the ground. The largest quarry in Jerusalem is a five mile cavern that is located under what is now the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem. The first century Jewish historian Josephus called it the “Royal Cavern”. The stone when it was freshly removed was pure white in color and soft enough to cut with a knife, when exposed to air it becomes extremely hard.
Once the quarrymen extricated the stones from the ground, the stone masons would take over the work of shaping and dressing the stone. These men would cut and shape the stones to be used as building material in accord with the needs and specifications of the architect and builders.
The Royal Stone
The stonemasons highly valued the stone removed from the Royal Caverns. This material was excellent for shaping into massive blocks because of its superior strength, its ability to be carved without flaking and its resistance to erosion. Consider that the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem which is made out of this very stone has been standing for over 2000 years! It was a perfect material for shaping the massive building blocks fit to be used for all of Israel’s royal buildings. For this reason, the stonemasons called it “Meleke Stone” which comes from the Hebrew root for “kingly” or “royal”.
When the Psalmist writes that Jesus has become the Chief Cornerstone, he has in mind the Royal Stones that were used to build the Temple of the Lord. The implication being that Jesus ought to be at the foundation and center of the structure of our lives. That a builder would reject such a worthy stone is the height of foolishness! He alone is the worthy and strong foundation stone and building block. The Psalmist sees the Messiah as the primary and principle building block of a life well lived. The resurrection of Jesus establishes him as the Messiah and therefore the Chief Cornerstone.
If you were to consider your life as a stone building, like a temple, ask yourself: “Is Jesus the primary foundation stone in the construction of my life?” He is far superior to any other building material that could be used. Is the Royal Stone the central foundation stone for you? Or is he a mere decorative add on? Perhaps he has not been incorporated in your life at all! Today, Consider the Royal Stone and where he fits in your life–or even better–consider where your life fits into his! God is the architect of your life, but you are the builder. The blueprint includes the Royal Stone as first importance!