What Does Psalm 118:22 Mean?

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.

Psalm 118:22(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Psalm 118 is a proclamation of majestic praise to God for His goodness and grace - His kindness, loyalty, and deliverance. At the beginning and at the end, we are exhorted to "give thanks unto the LORD for He is good, for His mercy endures forever," while in the middle section the author describes some of the terrible attacks he faced from his enemies while declaring his great deliverance from those that surround him and sought his downfall.

The writer is joyful because the LORD is on his side. He rejoices in the God of his salvation and proclaims, "I will not fear - what can man do to me?" He delights to declare an unshakable trust in God, with the words, "The LORD is for me ... It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men. Yes, it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one's faith in nobles. The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation."

The words of this psalm have become a source of great comfort and strength to generations of believers, providing healing in times of trouble, comfort in times of sorrow, freedom for those that are enslaved, restoration for all that are broken-hearted, strength in days of weakness, and hope in times of distress.

While the authorship of this psalm is not recorded, there are many who consider it to be written by King David. But as we arrive at verse 22, we understand that this is a psalm that primarily, and in many ways, is pointing to the Lord Jesus Who quoted it in Matthew, giving a warning to those that rejected Him: "The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone."

While the author of this psalm no doubt faced some terrible trials, deep distresses, and foreboding enemies from which the Lord delivered him, it becomes increasingly meaningful when we realise that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone about Whom the psalmist is prophesying.

It is poignant to realise that only a matter of hours before Christ's betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion... when He too was surrounded by His enemies, rejected by the religious leaders, despised by the multitudes, falsely accused by the chief priests, mocked by the Roman soldiers, abandoned by His disciples, and nailed to a cruel Cross, that Jesus sang this very hymn with His disciples in the upper room after they had partaken of the last supper, for Psalm 118 is one of the songs of ascent that was sung at the Passover.

"The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone," is the most quoted Old Testament text in New Testament Scripture. Three of the Gospels record Jesus challenging the chief priests and scribes to understand the meaning of this verse and warned them, "Whosoever shall fall upon that Stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever that Stone shall fall, it will grind him to powder."

The chief cornerstone is vital in the erection of a building. It is the first and most important stone laid, which guides, establishes, and stabilises the erection of an entire building project, and in God's plan of redemption, the Lord Jesus Christ is that Chief Cornerstone on which our faith is founded.

In Acts 4, Peter challenged the men of Israel proclaiming, "Jesus is the Stone that was rejected by you builders, which has become the Cornerstone," and in the closing years of his life he added, "to you which believe, Jesus is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, the Stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." And in explaining about foundational truth of the Christian faith, Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians that the gospel is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone."

When the psalmist put pen to paper so many years before Christ Jesus was born, and wrote, "The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone," he could not have understood the enormous, prophetic significance of his words. The Messiah of Israel would come at God's appointed time, but He would be despised and rejected by those He came to save. 

He was rejected by the elders for Israel as their prophet, priest, and king, for they refused to recognise His birth in Bethlehem, and during His ministry they falsely declared, "You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee." These foolish, blind leaders of the Jews scoffed Christ's humble beginnings and disapproved of His lack of formal education. They were angry when He disregarded their religious traditions, enraged when He forgave sins of a believer, and indignant when He ate with common folk and tax collectors. Oh yes, Jesus was indeed rejected by the builders - the religious leaders of Israel.

Jesus was rejected by teachers of the Law and learned men of His day and He continues to be rejected by many influential people, religious intellectuals, and proud men today - and yet Jesus has already been established, by God, as the Chief Cornerstone of His redemptive plan of the ages and continues to build His Church.

How blessed we are to have trusted our eternal future in the hands of this precious Stone which the builders rejected. The day is coming when He will return as the mighty Stone, cut without hands, that will one day smash the political, governmental, educational, and religious systems of this fallen world to smithereens when He returns in power and great glory to set up His eternal kingdom on earth.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that in Your grace I have come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus, the precious Cornerstone on Whom my faith is founded. Thank You that Jesus was willing to come to earth and be despised and rejected so that He could become the chief Cornerstone and the Rock on which I stand. I praise and thank You for Your goodness and grace, Your kindness, loyalty, and deliverance in times of trouble. Thank You that in Christ, I need not fear those that would oppress and destroy me. How I praise Your name that You provide healing in times of trouble, comfort in times of sorrow, light in times of darkness, freedom for those that are enslaved, restoration for all that are broken-hearted, strength in days of weakness, and hope in times of distress. I give thanks unto the Lord, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever, AMEN.

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Psalm 118:22 Further Study

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