Rocks and Stones

Psalm 118: 22 – 23

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

Today’s psalm has several famous verses in it. I chose this one because of the imagery of it. Among the ideas presented by this verse is the representation of Jesus, the rejected stone, as something hard and unflappable. He is the rock upon which we stand and the stone upon which the whole building is built.

Wikipedia says of the cornerstone, “The cornerstone (or foundation stone or setting stone) is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.” As the foundational stone, the integrity of the whole building relies upon the cornerstone. It determines the strength of the whole building.

This is a more important concept than one might, at first, realize. Three of the four gospels quote this passage. It is also quoted in Acts and Paul referenced it in his letter to the Ephesians and it shows up in Peter’s first letter. Consider this from Peter:

[ As Living Stones ] 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.” 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,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 1 Peter 2: 4 – 8 (See also Romans 9: 32 – 33).

This “chief corner stone” is also the rock of offense over which some will stumble but as for us, we are living stones; stones being transformed into the church of the living God through Jesus who is the principle stone upon which the entire structure depends.

I hope you find this as fascinating as do I. Since we have headed down this path, I wish to share one other verse with you that you may think about differently in light of the foregoing. “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone,” (Psalm 91: 11 – 12). This is commonly thought of a protection verse as, indeed, all of Psalm 91 is, but consider that Jesus is the stumbling stone, the stone of offense. Could it be that one of the angels’ duties is to help us to recognize Jesus as the corner stone so that we do not stumble over him to our eternal peril? At minimum, it is an interesting question.

I hope this Psalm Monday has found you well and that this excerpt from the psalms is a blessing to you. The Word of the Day will resume in October albeit in a slightly different form. We will continue our Psalm Mondays, but the other days of the week will be more brief. They will, as always, focus upon God’s Word as it is the life and breath we all need. I will, therefore, continue to send you a Bible verse daily. My elucidation thereof, however, will be shorter. It should make it easier for you to receive a dose of the Lord everyday without unduly burdening you. There will, of course, be the occasional message that needs a bit more but in any case, the Word of the Day will take five minutes or less to read. I hope this will aid you in your hectic schedules. Of course, I am always interested in your feedback. Simply reply to this email, use the comments section or leave us a comment on the website at

Stirred, not Shaken

Psalm 46: 1 – 2

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. That is why we are not afraid even when the earth quakes or the mountains topple into the depths of the sea.

Imagine, for a moment, standing on a bluff. Beneath your feet you feel the earth quaking as if shivering from a sudden chill. In the near distance you see a mountain as large as any mountain you have ever seen. While you look upon it, it crumbles like cheese, and the whole mountain tumbles into the sea. Where once stood a mountain, there is now nothing. Imagine, as you stand there, the earth still moving beneath your feet, that you feel no fear. Picture yourself standing there and see the confidence portrayed on your face. You have nothing to fear because your God is a strong refuge, a very real and very present help in the time of trouble.

You may never witness a cataclysmic event like described above, but then again, you may. There are places in the world where one could be exposed to seismic activity on this scale. All of us face those times, though, when our world is crumbling around us. The strong people and institutions we have relied upon fall into the sea, never to be seen again. It is in those times that we are best served if we have thought about, nay meditated on, this verse until its encouragement is integrated into the very fiber of our being. We need this assurance in that day.

Psalm 62: 6 reads, “He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.” Can you currently say that with conviction? Maybe you believe it, intellectually, but it is not buried in the soil of your heart. Perhaps, it has not yet taken root. In that day when our world is shaken, we need the kind of assurance these scriptures boast of. One only acquires this level of confidence in one of two ways; either you have experienced standing on the rock and know the truth of this statement or you have meditated on it enough that your spirit is convinced.

These psalms are written by people who saw the strong tower, the mighty refuge of God. They not only boast of the Lord in song but also their songs are an attempt to transfer their experience, wisdom and conviction to the rest of us. You will never go wrong by basking in the Psalms. They are great encouragement and I hope (& pray) that you find encouragement in today’s excerpt from Psalm 46.


Psalm 18: 2

The Lord is my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

This is not an unfamiliar scripture to you nor is the concept foreign. What we may not have considered, though, is the practical application involved and implied in this verse. One of the things I am doing these days which is bringing enlightenment to my thinking is that I am reading verses from a very pragmatic perspective. Beyond the poetic verse, and the almost ethereal ideals, there must be a practical application in order for these verses to have gravity in my very present life. “Thanks, David, for showing us your relationship and interaction with the Father but how do I apply that to my here and now?” That is the continual question I endeavor to answer on a daily basis.

I like to think that the Lord is our refuge and fortress as well but when David wrote, “in whom I take refuge” what do you suppose he actually did? Was this just a figure of speech or was there something affirmative he did? I think for us to run into the refuge of our hiding place we must actually engage in some kind of intentional act. Perhaps that act is prayer or meditation. I do not think that accepting the concept of God as our rock, shield and stronghold is the same as taking refuge in Him. I perceive from David’s words that when the pressure was on, he stopped looking to himself as the source of strength and instead went to the Lord in his spirit, in his mind and in his prayers. I think his retreat into the Lord was so real that it was all but a physical sequestration.

There is a level of surrender and release in this escape into the fortress of the Lord. It calls on God to be the strong savior while we rest in the shadow of His presence. We can, quite literally, I believe, hide ourselves away in who God is.

This taking these verses literally instead of figuratively is where the revelation begins to pour out like a summer rain and we begin to see real world application for what otherwise might be mere poetry to others. In all these high ideals there is the real world and God is one for real effects. What seems like a purely spiritual idea is really a God idea that is effectuated through the Spirit but with real impact on real lives. We, therefore, can read the Bible with that in mind and thus find the means for it to change our lives forever.

Rock and Sand

Matthew 7: 25

And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.

Have you seen the movie, The Perfect Storm? Maybe you can picture a storm as described in this verse. Picture this: flooding, gale force winds and torrential rains. Against all these, who can stand? Jesus has an answer. He said this house stood because it was built upon the rock as contrasted with the house which was built upon the sand.

This is a metaphor for life. Jesus said that our lives can be compared to these two foundations. The house built upon the rock can bear the storms of life and will not fall. Of the house built upon the sand Jesus said, “Great was its fall” (v. 27). It is tragic seeing someone’s house crumble under the pressure of a storm; much more so when their lives cannot withstand the pressures of life.

Clearly, we all want to live in the house built upon the rock. We would all readily agree that a life built upon the rock means a life built upon Jesus. So often, though, these ideas turn into platitudes. We agree at a high level but what does it mean in practice, in real, everyday life? Fortunately, Jesus answered this question.

Everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to the wise man, who built his house upon the rock,” (v. 24). There are three distinct pieces to this statement: 1) a foundation built upon the rock, 2) the acts of the wise, and 3) how we handle Jesus’ words. A wise person is the one who hears Jesus’ words. We must put ourselves in the position to hear Jesus’ words spoken into our ears and our hearts. Of course, this involves reading the Word for ourselves but I also hear Jesus saying for us to hear others speak his words. We have many opportunities in the nations where most of us reside for Bible studies and to hear as many preachers as we want on either television or the internet. The opportunities are there, we need only avail ourselves of them, and this is wisdom.

Jesus did not stop with his admonition that we hear his words though. The next directive he gave us is the divider of people. He said in order for us to have an unshakeable foundation such that we will be able to bear the storms, we must act upon his words. Wouldn’t you say this is the real meat of the parable? Think of it this way. Jesus was a carpenter so let’s pretend we all attend his seminar on building a sturdy home. He tells us all about the foundation and building upon rock instead of sand. We all diligently take notes on every word he says. Then we go home. Some people take the notes and file them away. Some people leave them right on their dining room table for weeks where they see them frequently but eventually, the notes get lost or discarded. Then there are the few. Those few actually take every piece of instructive advice Jesus gave at the seminar and apply them. They build according to all Jesus has said. These people end up with an unshakeable house and unshakeable faith while the rest of us wonder what makes them so special and why this works for them but not for us. Didn’t we all hear the same Word?

Jesus has given us the wisdom of the Kingdom but in order for it to work in our lives, we must apply it. He is not going to build the house for us, he is not going to force us to use his wisdom. He gives freely but he will not take away our choices. He has pointed out the way. He has lit the path. Let’s learn how to take his teachings and turn them into application rather than theology. This is the way of the wise.

For His Name’s Sake

Psalm 31: 3

For Thou art my rock and my fortress; for Thy name’s sake Thou wilt lead me and guide me.

God has a vested interest in leading you. He wants you successful because your life is a testimony to others. He wants his kids to find their way and to live peaceful, successful lives. He directs your steps so that you can find your way. If he did not lead and guide us, we would easily get lost. There is safety in Him and He leads you into that safe place for His name’s sake. In that place, in Him, is all of the substance you need. He has promised to lead you so He must do it or otherwise damage His reputation. He cannot lie so if He has said it, He must do it. Do not ask yourself if God will lead you and guide you. You are not the expert on what God will do. He has already established, by His own word, that he will direct you. Just relax and let Him

The Rock Faucet

Exodus 17: 6

Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

The lesson from this story has to be that if God can get water from a rock for the Israelites He can certainly meet our needs too. We live in a remarkable age. It wasn’t that long ago that people couldn’t just turn on the tap and have water flow out. What a magnificent blessing that is. And, people didn’t build their houses just anywhere; they had to locate a place for a well first. Then, of course, if you live in the desert or were like the Israelites, traversing the desert, water was a major issue. None the less, God has always met the needs of His people.

I wonder sometimes if our great abundance and enormous blessings have made it hard for us to exercise faith. Even if you are not a person of faith there is so much provided for us in this modern age. And our needs have shifted significantly. Besides the modern conveniences we also have food readily available. The issue really has become money these days. We need money to produce heat for our homes, pay for the water being delivered to our houses, and to buy the food that someone else has already raised and harvested. So, we focus on money, but that does not mean that we don’t still need food, shelter, clothing and water. In a sense our needs really haven’t changed but our means of procuring them has and I think that has caused a shift in our faith application. We understand that money will provide these things for us so we focus on that. In reality though, it is still the Father who meets our needs. Jesus told us that the Father knows we need all these things so we shouldn’t worry about them. Look at how He provided for the Israelites. That is the model of the Father’s provision for today. If He could provide water for them by having Moses strike a rock then He is well able to take care of our every need. We can hold this scripture up the Lord and pronounce bravely that we know He will meet our needs because that is what He has always done for His people. This is some good word that you can sow into your life. If there is any lack in your life at all, then use this example of God’s provision and sow that Word into the soil of your life. Hold it up to the Lord and proclaim the victory. Let God show Himself to you. Give Him a little “Word” seed to work with and He will bring you a Harvest. And if there is anything else He instructs you to sow be quick to do it and believe Him for every need met in the name of Jesus.