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The Lord God does not think the way we do (Isaiah 55:8-9). Not only are His thoughts higher than ours, His ways not our ways, our thoughts not His thoughts, but His thoughts are so much higher than ours that we simply will not be able to comprehend them, unless He reveals them to us. Thankfully, by His grace, He has made known His thoughts via Scripture. If we look closely, we will find that He will act in ways that we may view as unwise, unworkable, and even doomed to fail—at least at first.

Long ago, we sang a praise chorus based on Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” That was it, that one verse sung a couple of times, maybe three if the song leader pressed it. It was a “bring-them-in-from-the-parking-lot” chorus, for those unfamiliar with church-speak. However, again, to my shame, I never bothered to investigate the passage’s context. Here it is:

The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

This is the LORD’s doing;

it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the LORD has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:22–24).1

Do you see why believers are to rejoice?

The builders rejected the stone that the Lord had provided. What stone is this? Paul wrote, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19–21).

The stone is Jesus. Israel, “the builders,” who should have installed this rock, rejected Him.

Jesus told His disciples in Luke 20:9-17 that the rejection in Psalm 118 spoke of Him. He taught them a parable about a land owner who let his vineyard out to tenants and  “went into another country for a long while.” When the harvest was ready, the owner sent his servants to collect some of the fruit. The men overseeing the land in the owner’s absence beat up one servant, stoned one, and killed another. The owner sent more servants, and the overseers did the same to them. Finally, the owner sent his son, whom they killed. Then Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 about the rejection of the cornerstone. A cornerstone, according to the Louw-Nida Greek Lexicon, is “the cornerstone or capstone of a building, essential to its construction.”2  Israel would reject the One who was crucial to their lives; nevertheless, their plan would fail. His would succeed. He would be installed—exalted—as the cornerstone. This was to be marvelous in our eyes.

It is.

Think about that for a moment. The Lord made the day when He Himself would be slaughtered on a cross. He created the day of rejection of Himself, so His victorious purpose would come to pass. This is not snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat; this is planning the defeat that will lead to a victory.

Who does that?

Counter-intuitive, I-will-plan-My-own defeat thinking.

We—none of us—would ever make a plan so we would purposefully fail in order to gain some kind of victory. The outcome would be too uncertain. It sounds like insanity, doesn’t it? Only one Person possesses the high-as-the-heavens-are above-the-earth thinking as well as the ability, to pull this off.

It was a day the Lord made. It is marvelous in our eyes. We will rejoice.

All glory to the sovereign Creator of all things.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

2Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 87). New York: United Bible Societies.

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