Keystone

The very stone masons rejected as flawed has turned out to be the most important capstone of the arch, holding up the very house of God.

Psalm 118:22 TPT

Usually, when I hear God compared to a stone in the Bible, it is in reference to Him being a firm foundation (Psalm 18:2, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Matthew 7:24-27) or a cornerstone in the foundation of the temple of God (Ephesians 2 19-22, Isaiah 28:16, 1 Peter 2:7-8). This paints a beautiful picture of how our lives are meant to be built upon the truth of Christ. He is the only firm foundation, and as the cornerstone, He is the first and most crucial piece in the foundation of our lives.

Today, as I was studying some of these scriptures, one verse referenced Psalm 118:22 in the footnotes. I flipped through my Bible to find it and, when I read the verse, I had to sit in silence for a few moments.

In the Passion Translation, this verse in Psalms uses the word “capstone” rather than cornerstone and depicts an archway rather than a foundation. Before I explain the significance of that comparison for me, I will do my very best to explain why this is such a great analogy.

I am definitely not an architect, but I have a very deep appreciation for art. A couple years ago, I had to take an art course for college that ended up focusing quite a bit on architectural art rather than just paintings and sculptures. I found this section of the course extremely interesting, especially when they spent time discussing cathedrals, churches, and buildings that are standing after hundreds of years. Things we build today are so temporary compared to those stone fortresses, temples, and houses of God. Not just that, but so many of them include some of the most beautiful gothic architecture and art of the time period. Massive ogival arches, flying buttresses, ribbed vaults… it’s absolutely breathtaking. And so many are still standing.

Even though these buildings are massive and are so complex in design, they were built to stand hundreds of years without crumbling, toppling, or disintegrating. (This is the part of the art course that fascinated me.) When I studied the construction of archways in some of these buildings, basically the only thing discussed was the importance of the capstone (typically called a “keystone”). The keystone is the stone which rests at the very top of the arch in the center.

Although this is not an example of gothic architecture, the Arc de Triomphe features a very obvious keystone.

When building an arch, the keystone is place in the arch at the very end. Although it is added last, this stone has the most important job of any stone in the arch. (I will summarize this quite a bit, but I highly suggest looking more into the physics of how this all works because it’s extremely fascinating.) The keystone is usually a slightly different shape than other stones in the arch, with a wider top and narrower base. The angle of the sides allows for the force placed on the keystone to be directed down through the branches of the arch toward the ground. By distributing the weight in this way, the keystone allows the arch to not only bear the weight of itself without crumbling, but also bear the load of anything built on top of it.

So Christ is our Keystone. The reason the verse in Psalm 118 affected me so deeply is because it addresses the way Christ was first “rejected as flawed”. The masons (that’s us – humanity as a whole and those who placed Him on the cross) did not see the potential Jesus had or the purpose He was created for. Jesus challenged what was viewed as “normal” when He was here. He was unlike any other person who had walked this earth, because He was created for a purpose nobody else could ever or would ever be able to fulfill. Jesus was not the same shape as the other stones because He did not have the same purpose in the arch the rest of us did.

He had the final word. Although Jesus was cast aside, He ended up being the most important piece in the final structure. When He died on the cross, He took his place the Keystone in the Kingdom of God. With His dying breath, He became fixed in place, bearing the weight of sin for every person that had lived or ever would. The death and resurrection gave Him the final word in the battle between life and death. He was the final piece God needed in the construction of His holy temple. Because of Jesus, the weight of sin and death which should have caused us to crumble was absorbed and redirected. He has allowed us (the church and the stones) to be part of the Kingdom which will stand for eternity. This arch, where Jesus is the Keystone, is the only gateway to eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven.

How incredibly beautiful is that?

In my own life, the picture of Jesus being the Keystone is also very significant. My own life is not supposed to be like one of the beautiful gothic cathedrals because my life is not meant to be a lasting temple or house. My life is temporary and is part of my preparation for the eternity I will spend in Heaven. It is something I will pass through, like an archway, to enter into eternity with Jesus. God has given me many beautiful stones to construct my life. The thing is, I can work my whole life on building an elaborate, complex, detailed, and breath-taking arch with these stones, but if I don’t have the Keystone, all my work will crumble before my eyes. There is a weight to life, a weight to blessing, a weight to suffering, a weight to dreams, a weight to being which I cannot bear on my own. Nothing can bear the weight of it aside from Jesus.

In order to construct my life in a way that will be lasting and will withstand the force and pressure from the enemy, Jesus, my Keystone, needs to be at the center of it all. Not only that, He needs to be the highest point. The focus of my life needs to be completely directed to Him. When I focus my life on Him and allow the weight of those stones to rely on Him, He shows me how to direct my attention and focus through each of the other pieces I have been given.

God is my Rock and my Foundation. He is my Cornerstone, the first piece in my life’s foundation. He is the First. And He is the Last. Christ is my Keystone. He is the last piece in my arch, the center and highest point in the life I am building.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Do not be afraid of discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Deuteronomy 31:8

We’ve been working through the story of Abraham in Genesis over the last couple months. I went into it a bit closed-minded, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy reading through the same stories I’ve head so many times. I really need to stop doing that when reading the Bible, because every time God shows me such incredible things I never noticed before. He takes a story I’ve heard since early childhood and flips it into this incredible tale that captures my attention and leaves me in awe.

Over the weeks, God has really been reminding me of His incredible faithfulness and what that looks like. As I’ve worked through Genesis, I’ve had the opportunity to read about every promise the Lord made to Abraham through his life, and then see the way the Father fulfilled those promises time and time again. In addition, I’ve seen how God prepared a way for Abraham to reach those promises, no matter the hardships, doubts, or fears that tried to hinder him.

If I had an account of my life like Abraham did, I think I would be awestruck with how the Father has been faithful to me (and will be).

I’ve seen him answer prayer after prayer in the past. He has provided strength, courage, and hope through the toughest parts of my life. Regardless of my decisions, He has stayed by my side and waited for me to turn around and fall into His open arms. He has prepared a path for me in areas that still leave me awestruck. I already have seen Him do so much.

Sometimes it’s so easy to see this and be grateful. But, I think a lot of times, it’s easy to be discouraged in life and lose sight of that. There’s times you don’t see results, life becomes extremely difficult, and you seem to be stuck in something with no way out. It’s so easy to miss the blessings, love, and joy the Father offers us. At times, He feels distant. It’s hard to remember He’s there at all. There are things like this I struggle with on a daily basis. There are things I have been praying for for years, but with what feels like no response.

But Abraham and Sarah waited over 25 years for a son. They were in a place where it was actually impossible to have a child. Sarah even resorted to giving Abraham a servant with the hopes of continuing the family line. It became a situation that seemed completely hopeless. Until God transformed it into an incredible, impossible miracle. God was faithful.

I feel in a lot of ways that I have been very judgmental of Abraham and Sarah in the past as they took matters into their own hands. After all, God did promise them a son, yeah? But this time as I read their story again, I was able to see it from a different perspective. Having a son, and someone to carry on their lineage was a HUGE deal then. It was something that showed value as well. Children were prized. And they had none. They had waited well past the time their bodies were physically capable of producing children. That is such a hopeless place. No wonder they tried to find another option. But God was faithful.

I do that too, in different ways, I think. In times I feel hopeless, I turn to other things. Sometimes it’s to take my mind off what is bothering me as I scroll through social media. Sometimes it’s searching for comfort in other people around me. Sometimes it’s reading or working or filling my schedule to keep myself busy. These are not bad things on their own, but often, I do this in place of turning to God. Instead of coming to him for comfort and love when I feel hopeless, I try to take care of that feeling in my own way. But God is faithful.

We have a loving, patient Father.

He is faithful in fulfilling His promises, yes. He is also faithful to us, remaining with us through every situation we walk through. Even when I can’t see what He’s doing, I do have the opportunity to see Him. What an amazing thing that we have a God that walks alongside us through this crazy life!

Father, thank you for being present and faithful always. Help me to see your faithfulness in every area of my life, and to have confidence in You, knowing you are with me and preparing a way for me wherever I go.