"You are my God, and I will praise You! You are my God, and I will exalt You! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 118:28-29
I'm convinced that oak trees don't only grow acorns, I think they grow rocks too! We live in the woods. Our home is surrounded by large oak trees and every time I've tried to plant something in the little bit of yard we have, I dig up huge rocks. I've dug up so many over the years that our driveway, my flowerbed, and the firepit are all lined with rocks from our yard.
Psalm 118:22 says:
"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone..."
The Bible has a lot to say about stones, mostly as references to God. In Genesis 49:24 Jacob calls God "the Rock of Israel." Moses sang of God in Deuteronomy 32:4:
"He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all HIs ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He."
Isaiah and Daniel both reference the Messiah as a stone.
"The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, He is the one you are to fear, He is the one you are to dread. He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah He will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare." Isaiah 8:13-14
"So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic." Isaiah 28:16
"While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth." Daniel 2:34-35
And in the New Testament, Jesus, after telling the parable of the landowner and tenants in Matthew 21, quoted Psalm 118:22 as He talked to the chief priests and Pharisees.
"Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed. When the chief priests and Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they knew He was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that He was a prophet."
Jesus is the cornerstone the builders rejected. The Jews, His own people did not accept Him as Messiah. Yet through His death, resurrection, and ascension, Paul tells us Jesus became the chief cornerstone.
"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him, you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit."
Jesus brought Jews and Gentiles together as part of God's family. When God promised Abraham a descendant who would bless the whole world Jesus is the one He meant. He came to save the world but not all accept Him, some still reject Him. Those who accept Jesus as Savior can be thankful that He is the Chief Cornerstone.
Verse 25 of Psalm 118 finds the Psalmist pleading with God to save the people. The Hebrew word used here for "save" is the word "hoshiah nna". Can you see our word "hosanna" in this word? This Psalm was sung by the Jewish people during the Feast of Tabernacles, just before Passover. This is the song the children sang as Jesus entered Jerusalem before His crucifixion. Verse 26 was part of this song:
"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
We can be thankful that Jesus the Chief Cornerstone came in the name of the Lord.
In verse 27 we see Jesus as the sacrifice taken to the altar. He was taken to the cross and nailed there for our sin. John tells us:
"My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He Himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins - and not only our sins but the sins of the world." 1 John 2:1-2
We can be thankful that Jesus the Chief Cornerstone became our sacrifice.
Our focus verses today declare praise to God as a personal act within a corporate act. We praise God as our personal Lord and Savior. Our praise comes from a heart of gratitude for what He has done for us. Jesus died for the sin of the world, but my sin is different from your sin. Each of us has been forgiven and set free from the power of sin. We each have a personal story of just what Jesus rescued us from. We can be thankful that Jesus the Chief Cornerstone has rescued us personally.
"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." John 8:34-36
But praise must also be a corporate action within the church. The writer of Hebrews warned against not meeting together.
"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25
Paul had much to say about corporate worship. He told Timothy:
"Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching." 1 Timothy 4:13
He told the Ephesians:
"...speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20
And to the Colossians:
"Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:16-17
Gathered Manna for Psalm 118:28-29 is:
Jesus is our Chief Cornerstone and worthy of all our praise.
What evidence is there in your life that Jesus is your Chief Cornerstone? How do you praise God personally? Where do you praise God corporately? Praying we all learn to praise our God personally and corporately.
Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
God bless and keep you,