Rest Your Head On the Solid Rock of Godâ€™s Sovereignty: A Meditation on 1 Peter 2:6-8
1 Peter 2:6-8
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you whovbelieve, but for those whovdo not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word as they were also destined to do.
We should especially pay attention to the seemingly strange statements in the Bible; they may be there for our encouragement. Here is the gist of what Peter is saying, “No matter what you are going through in your life, if you have embraced Jesus the cornerstone, then you will never regret it; you will never be put to shame.”
Think about how Peter (and Paul) could have said, “Wait a minute. Do you know how much pain and heartache and suffering my faith in Jesus has caused me to endure?” If Peter could have seen into the future, he might have said, “My faith and ministry are going to be my downfall. It’s going to be the reason I get crucified upside down under Nero two years from now.” Peter could have gone to sleep every night in a sense of deep insecurity that there were all kinds of demons and people who were conspiring against God’s purposes for his life. But I don’t think he did. I think he had a huge sovereign rock to rest his head upon at night.
Peter pens these verses so that we will rest our heads upon that same solid rock. The stunning and life- changing words are found at the end of verse 8: My literal translation: “They stumble at the word because of disobedience [unbelief], to this [unbelief] they were also appointed/destined [by God].” In the first few years of my Christian life, I would read this verse and others like it and not believe it. I thought it had to mean something different than what it seems to plainly say. But the text is clear. Verses 6-8 form a unit; and the word translated “destined or appointed” in verse 8 is the same word used in verse 6 where he says, “I [God] ‘lay’ [that’s the word] in Zion a stone…” He is saying, “I have ‘laid’ or ‘appointed’ or ‘destined’ Jesus as the cornerstone of the new temple, the Church. Just as Jesus was appointed to experience the sin of the cross in order to be the living cornerstone, so ‘also’ unbelievers were appointed to their doom.”
How is that statement helpful to suffering, troubled Christians? I think he adds “To this they also were appointed” in order to make it crystal clear that God is not sitting back ringing his hands wondering what in the heck is going to happen next at the hands of unbelievers…what may happen next to you. But instead, He is in complete sovereign control of everyone and everything. That crazy nut, the emperor Nero, cannot mess up God’s ultimate purposes for believers. Neither can Islamic terrorism, a terrible boss or an abusive husband (for that matter this would include all natural/non-human caused evils like a cancer diagnosis). Peter is saying there is no such thing as an unbeliever who can ultimately say, “Ah Ha, look at me I have chosen my own destiny in order to mess up what God really wants. I have the final say!” No matter what you are going through, in your fears and tears, rest your head on the solid rock of God’s ultimate sovereign control of every circumstance in your life. That is Peter’s point.
God has Peter write this to us believers. He wants us to know it. He wants the suffering churches to know that the hostile unbelief they were experiencing was ultimately planned by God, so that they could rest in the truth that their Heavenly Father holds all things in His sovereign control. He wants us to know this truth so that we could lay our heads down on that solid rock of Romans 8:28, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
It is passages like 1 Peter 2:8 that leads fellow Christians like Jim Bowers to say at the memorial service of his wife and seven month old daughter (who were shot to death by Peruvian Air force fighters who mistook their missionary plane for a drug cartel plane),
I want to thank my God. He’s a sovereign God. I’m finding that out more now….Could this really be God’s plan for Roni and Charity; God’s plan for Cory and me and our family? I’d like to tell you why I believe so…Roni and Charity were instantly killed by the same bullet. [That bullet] did not reach the pilot who was right in front of Charity; it stayed in Charity. That was a sovereign bullet….Those people who did that, simply were used by God….They were used by Him to accomplish His purpose in this, maybe similar to the Roman soldiers whom God used to put Christ on the Cross.
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