By David Faust
When I was 17, a friend in the construction business gave me a summer job. I worked hard, but my skill level was average at best. (No one ever told me, “You know, Dave, you are so good at this you ought to consider a career in bricklaying.”) In that season of my life I was mainly in it for the money, so for $2.50 an hour I dug trenches, mixed mortar, set up scaffolding, and carried bricks and concrete blocks. Besides helping me save for college, the job gave me a lot of respect for the hard- working individuals who construct buildings for a living.
In the days of King Solomon, skillful stonecutters built the foundation for God’s temple in Jerusalem. They dressed the blocks at the stone quarry, cutting each one with such precision that “no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built” (1 Kings 6:7).
The prophet Isaiah, however, pointed to someone whose skill far surpasses any ancient stonecutter or modern-day bricklayer. “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).
God Describes the Stone
When the Lord himself lays a foundation, it’s sturdy enough to hold whatever is built upon it. Notice the characteristics of this foundation put in place by God.
The stone is “tested.” Over the centuries God’s truth has been pummeled and pounded, scrutinized and criticized, but it still stands strong.
The stone is “precious.” What could be more valuable than a safe shelter in the midst of a storm? We consider gold and silver precious metals, but when a hurricane batters your dwelling place, the most precious stones of all are the ones underneath that hold up your house.
The foundation is “sure.” It’s a place of confidence, stability, and strength. Isaiah said, “The one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic,” but in our current culture many live in fear—on the edge of panic. Without the sure and solid foundation of God under our feet, our lives become like rudderless, anchorless boats floating along wherever the cultural current takes us.
Who Is the Stone?
God’s solid foundation has a name. Even more, this stone is alive!
It may seem strange to think of a rock in such terms, but Isaiah’s word picture pointed prophetically and unmistakably to Jesus of Nazareth. His identity as the Messiah is the bedrock on which our faith is built (Matthew 16:16-18). He is the “stone the builders rejected” that “has become the cornerstone” (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42). He is the Rock of Ages, the church’s one foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Jesus gave one of his disciples the nickname Petros (“Rock”), but Peter recognized the big rock in the quarry. He called Jesus “the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him” (1 Peter 2:4).
We live in unstable times. Satan, the great destabilizer, keeps shaking things up. Moral earthquakes threaten to bring down the very institutions God intended to strengthen society. “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm” (2 Timothy 2:19).
Where will you plant your feet? Edward Mote said it well: “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for September 13, 2015
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Isaiah 27, 28
Isaiah 29, 30