This devotional was written for the Eastbrook Church 2017 Lenten Devotional, “Crossroads.”
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
My nieces and nephew recently discovered Legos. What amazes me is that even my two-year-old niece Lorelai helps out. She can sit in front of the manual, carefully select the right Lego piece, check her work against the manual, and proudly hand it to her siblings to put in place.
This type of careful selection is what the mini-parable found in v. 22 is about. In order to build a great structure like Solomon’s temple, the builders carefully selected the right stones, saving the most perfect stone for the cornerstone. Stones that didn’t fit the blueprint were rejected.
Fast-forward about 1000 years and we find another rejected stone in Jesus. Jesus didn’t look like the right piece for the job. He didn’t match the blueprint for the Messiah at first glance. I think my niece would have rejected Him, just as many did in His time—and still do today.
But there’s something beautiful here. Jesus, flesh and bone, was rejected. I, too, have been rejected by friends, boyfriends, employers, you name it. Rejection hurts every time, no matter how big or small. But rejection isn’t who I am. I’m not discarded, overlooked, or abandoned, never to be selected and used creatively. God, the masterful engineer, is also creative and surprising. He shocked the world when He used a rejected stone as the cornerstone of His Kingdom, He shocks me with how He answers my prayers (v. 21), and I choose to trust that He will use rejection for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
After studying this passage, I now think that rejection is actually a part of the plan, not something to be lamented and despaired. I want to be like the psalmist and give thanks before, during, and after I’m rejected. The point here isn’t rejection, playing the victim, or naming a villain, the goal is to proclaim thanksgiving to our creative, surprising, masterful God. I want to rejoice and be glad no matter what (vv. 23-24). I have something in common with Jesus, and so do you—we’re all rejected stones.