Not “Too Small a Thing” (by Christine Colbert)Filed under Scripture on November 14th, 2012 by Christine Colbert
The Book of Psalms, comprising lyrics that were set to music, and essentially poetry, provides some of the most beautiful passages in the sacred text.
Psalm 118′s many paragraphs, or perhaps we should say stanzas, speak of Israel’s history and even, interestingly, its present experience! This historic-and-current narrative regarding Israel is interspersed with liturgical supplication and praise.
We find here passages that speak of Israel’s being surrounded by enemies, of God’s strong protection; and others that generally reflect ancient Israel’s faith and thanksgiving toward God.
But in the midst of this setting of divergent themes and lyrical reprise, we find this powerful, prophetic jewel: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
Ancient Israel, the primary arrow in God’s quiver in His earlier mission through humanity, and His first-chosen “builders” of His holy Temple — and people — on earth, would reject God’s own “chief cornerstone” for that “Temple”! David or another lyricist speaks unmistakably here — amid the historical narrative and broad-stroke supplication and praise — of Yeshua, of Jesus.
We remember His weeping over the Holy City shortly before the crucifixion — the city He had so long loved. His telling Jerusalem that her people would not see Him again until they welcomed Him in recognition.
God, who had long worked through Abraham’s descendants to lift humanity, was not surprised by Israel’s religious authorities’ rejection of her own long-desired — and longingly-desired — Messiah. This stiff-necked opinion is still heard in the streets of Jerusalem — and New York, for that matter — today — from orthodox leaders who follow in the footsteps of those misguided religious leaders two millennia ago.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem — as He who is the resurrection and the life had wept over the grief of Lazarus’ sisters four days after his death. Jesus/Yeshua/Yahweh/the Holy Spirit was not surprised by the developments in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago. Psalm 118 even goes so far as to reveal that this appalling and well-known trajectory was “His doing.”
In Isaiah 49:6,7 we catch a glimpse of God’s plan:
He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (NASB)
Moving our focus forward several centuries, we see Paul venturing out toward the “gentile” or non-Jewish world that surrounded Israel. The very-Jewish, self-described “Pharisee of Pharisees,” by way of his dramatic conversion experience on the heels of his having facilitated the martyrdom of Stephen, “saw the light” and became a stunningly effective tool in God’s hand — toward the enormous work that is not “too small a thing” for our unbounded God.
Abraham was told that through him all nations would be blessed. At one level we see the tiny, long-troubled nation of Israel — its many achievements that are noticeably disproportionate to its size, and their striking benefits to all humanity.
At another, much-higher level stands Yeshua — Abraham’s “seed” through Mary. We remember God’s revealing words to Satan in Genesis: “The seed of the woman shall crush your head.” Baruch haba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.
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