The Refuge of Lies and the Cornerstone
14 Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, 15 because you have said, "We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception." 16 Therefore thus says the Lord God,"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. 17 "And I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the level; then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the secret place. 18 "And your covenant with death shall be canceled, and your pact with Sheol shall not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place. NASB
There are two images I want you to remember from this passage of Scripture. Of course, I used them as the title for this message.
The refuge of lies and the cornerstone. Isaiah said that Judah and Jerusalem had made a covenant with death. He says they had made falsehood their refuge and concealed themselves with deception. It is for this reason that God would lay a foundation stone, a costly cornerstone in Zion. Whoever put their faith in this cornerstone would be at peace.
The greatest tool our enemy has to enslave us is his lies. He lied to Adam and Eve and he has lied to everyone who would listen to him ever since. His goal is quite simple to destroy our faith in Our Creator.
The nation of Judah continued to believe the lies that they were safe from the judgment that was coming to them. Isaiah was attempting to help them see that they were believing a lie. They clung to the belief that it was their bloodline back to their father Abraham that protected them from judgment. God was telling them to prepare for the fall of their nation because they had drifted from their relationship with God. They were living, not for the glory of God, but for their own pleasure. Eat and drink and be merry. Live any way you like. Forget about following God's commandments. He loves us and will save us no matter what.
We humans, are good at self-deception. We put our trust in anything, but where it really belongs. There is only one sure foundation. There is only one God who is Lord and Savior. Putting our trust in our goodness, or in some false god will always disappoint us.
Listen to what Paul had to say about the interpretation of this prophecy in Ephesians, starting in chapter 2 verse 11:
11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. NASB
There is only one source for true peace in this life or the next. That peace comes through Christ Jesus. He is the cornerstone that people have stumbled over. He is the foundation of our relationship with God. You cannot have a relationship with God without accepting His grace and mercy. It is because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary that we can be reconciled to a relationship of peace with God. In Him we are being fitted together and are growing into a holy temple of God. We are being built into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Many talk of the temple being rebuilt, but God is growing the Holy Temple of God as He calls each of us to put our faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Paul said Christ does not just give us peace, but that He is our peace. He is the fulfillment of God's great plan for mankind. With out Him, we are lost and without hope.
We can continue to deceive ourselves into thinking that our good nature is going to see us through. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we will somehow “be okay” if we just hold on, but if you believe what the Bible says, there is only one way to be saved and that is to put your faith in the finished work of Christ. It is when we trust Him that we will not be disappointed.
16 Therefore thus says the Lord God,"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. 17 "And I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the level; then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the secret place. 18 "And your covenant with death shall be canceled, and your pact with Sheol shall not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling place.
The Southern Kingdom's covenant with death would be canceled. Making a pact with death and grave will not work. It is appointed once for man to die and then the judgment. Justice will be the measuring line and righteousness the level. God's righteousness that comes as a gift to us when we accept His gift of salvation will be what we will be judged on. It is our relationship with God that is our hope for eternity.
If is the free offer of salvation through Christ that saves us. Anything short of that will just not do. He is our hope, our peace. In Him we live and move and have our being.
The refuge of lies will be swept away when Christ returns to judge the world and all its inhabitants. The lies that we tell ourselves to make us feel good will be inadequate. What matters is what we have put on the altar of our hearts. Is Jesus the cornerstone of your life?
Look at how Peter interpreted this passage about the cornerstone:
1 Peter 2:1-10
2 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 for this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed." 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," 8 and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. NASB
When Peter was preaching to his people, and the leaders in Jerusalem shortly after the day of Pentecost He told them:
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. 12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."
There is only one hope that will sustain us through to eternal life and that is the hope we have in Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. Is this narrow minded? Perhaps, it is in your thinking. For those of us who have put our faith in the God who is revealed to us in the Bible, this is the only answer for all the problems we face. Our allegiance to Him is what gives us hope.
To accept anything else is to believe the lie, to take refuge in the falsehoods that the enemy of God is trying to sell to us. We must not take refuge in the lies. We must base our lives on what we learn about God in the Word of God. We must listen to the Spirit of God as He leads us to trust in Him and in Him alone. He is the cornerstone, the stone of stumbling, the rock of offense.
It would be nice to be able to believe that anyone can be saved by other religions, or teachings of men. But we must put off the deceptions that are attractive to us and put our faith in God and God alone. We must trust what He says is true.
God's righteousness is a gift that is given to us when we come to Christ. We are forgiven for our rebellion and for ignoring Him for so long. Now that we have accepted Him and the truth He teaches us, we walk in a relationship with Him. This is the source of the only righteousness that will do us any good.
Our self righteousness falls short of the glory that God wants us to experience.
We must not take refuge in lies and deceptions, no matter how attractive they are to us. We must take a stand on the cornerstone, the foundation that was laid by God Himself.
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. NASB
Life is not about us. Life is about God and what He is doing in the world. One of the current themes of the Church of God is “Jesus Is The Subject”.
He is the foundation for the people of God. He is the subject we must focus on. We must give up our trust in the refuge of lies and build on the foundation that was laid by God Himself.
Refuge of lies or the Cornerstone. Where is your trust? Where is your hope?