Friday, October 7, 2022

The Capstone Rejected (Psalm 118)

"The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone" (Ps. 118:22).

Psalm 118 contains well-known passages that pointed to the Messiah: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.… Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” The words were penned concerning David, but also pointed toward Christ. As we have stated about other prophetic psalms, David was a type of Christ, a foreshadow of the King who would reign over an everlasting kingdom.

As to how this psalm applies to both David and Christ, Calvin wrote, “The election of David was secret; and after he was anointed by Samuel to be king, he was rejected by Saul, and by all the heads of the people, and all abhorred him as if he had been a person deserving of a hundred deaths. Thus disfigured and dishonored, he did not appear to be a fit stone for occupying a place in the building. Similar to this was the beginning of the kingdom of Christ, who, being sent by His Father for the redemption of the church, not only was despised by the world, but also hated and execrated, both by the common people and the dignitaries of the church.”

It is important to note that those who rejected the stone were called “builders.” The very people who were, by office, builders of the church both in David’s and Christ’s day rejected the capstone. Calvin explains how often the priests kept their honorable titles even when they were abandoned by the people—at least until God removed them. Hence the words of Isaiah, “Who is blind, but My servant, or deaf as My messenger whom I send?” (42:19). “This passage informs us that those who are entrusted with the office of ruling the church, sometimes prove the worst workmen,” Calvin wrote. “David, speaking by the Spirit, denominates as chief-builders those who attempted to destroy the Son of God and the salvation of mankind, and by whom the worship of God was adulterated … it very frequently occurs, that Christ’s bitterest enemies are concealed under the garb of pastors.”

This passage does not diminish the authority of church leaders, but should serve as a sober warning to those who take such high offices. It is also a reminder to the church not to put its faith in men, but in Christ who is the capstone rejected by the builders.

Read 1 Corinthians 3. Why does Paul rebuke the church for following men? Yet, he calls himself an expert builder. How was he an expert builder? What was his foundation? Who should be your foundation? Consider your church leaders—are they building on the right foundation? Pray for them today.