“Shoulder to Shoulder”
Facing trials is not what we had planned on our daily ledger of things to do. Yet, Peter reminds the scattered believers, and us in this century, that they/us may have to face trials and in fact, in chapter 4 he says that they are not to be astonished when they do happen. In this second chapter of 1Peter his usage of the stones gives us a symbolic picture of how we can face trials with our fellow believers “shoulder to shoulder.” This is a critical thinking point as you endeavor to guide those under you. You may be a Sunday School teacher or a parent guiding the ones God has sent your way. You as the mature are leading the immature, the grown-up guiding the new born babe. Enter into that relationship and you can be sure that the enemy of our souls will start scratching up those behaviors and attitudes and sins you did not confess or those sins you were unaware of. These are the trials you will face and you must be prepared.
Peter uses the word pictures of the “Living Stone–the Cornerstone” and us as the “living stones.” Think back to the building of the Temple. Peter uses the building of the Temple as a “word” picture. Beginning with the Cornerstone, history tells us that
“It lies at the bottom of the southeastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet long [1.1 meters x 4.3 meters]. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches [289.9 meters] below the present surface.”
Once the Temple Stonemason placed the Cornerstone he began to place each “living stone” crafted with care, exactly the dimension, and placement needed to form a perfect line. The Master Stonemason, [God] in eternity past, chose us from the subterranean quarry and lined us up, just as the earthly stonemason did, perfectly alongside and above the Cornerstone. No mortar was used and each stone was crafted to interlock perfectly keeping out the debris of the world. This is then a picture of all believers standing shoulder to shoulder as “living stones” above the Cornerstone who is our Rock and Defender. We stand above the apostles and prophets who make up the foundation. [Eph 2:20-21] We stand next to and beside or on the shoulders of the believers from eternity past. Shoulder to Shoulder we stand facing the storms of life. And as we do we “carry one another’s burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ” being a “living sacrifice” in the form of a “living stone” which is steadfast and immovable.
Trials come and go but through them all, we have the body of Christ who are placed alongside us, and beneath us to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. In this way, we are building up a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood which can offer up spiritual sacrifices which are pleasing to Him.
Take a moment and thank God for the “living stone” placed beside you or those who were placed beneath you. You are standing on their shoulders. Take a moment and thank God they are there to stand with you in your present day trial.