A Journal for Bible Teachers

The Cornerstone

The Cornerstone

The concept of a “cornerstone” is found in several places in the Word of God. The word is used to describe the most precious, valuable, and unmovable stone in the building—the stone from which all other measurements for the building are taken. In Isaiah 28:16 we have the first reference to the cornerstone, referring to the Lord Himself: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The Apostle Paul also tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that the church is founded upon the apostles and prophets, but the Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone. Therefore, in both the old and new testaments, we have a very clear statement concerning a building that represents the church and whose cornerstone is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The wonderful thing about this is that we have a reference point for everything we do in life, the Lord Jesus Christ. The church must line up with the Cornerstone.


Will we allow our Lives to be conformed to the Cornerstone?

It is interesting that in the Word of God there are other references to that Cornerstone (the Lord Jesus) and that this Cornerstone was rejected by the builders. This point is brought out in Acts 4:11 and Psalms 118:22: “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner” (Acts 4:11). “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” (Psalms 118:22). The “builders” were the scribes, Pharisees, and priests who were the religious leaders. They rejected the Cornerstone! They were unwilling for their lives to be measured or compared to the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Likewise, we have to be careful that we do not reject the Cornerstone (as many are doing in the church today) by refusing to allow our lives to conform to the Cornerstone.

For example, does our message and worship line up with the Cornerstone? The Lord Jesus Christ said that God the Father desires our worship to be in spirit and in truth. In other words, we are to be led by the Holy Spirit in worship and our words must be true. The whole of our life must conform to that Cornerstone. Those are the only measurements that are accepted by God the Father. He makes it very clear how precious that Cornerstone is. After all, that Cornerstone is His own beloved Son! In Isaiah 28:16 the Lord brings out these thoughts about the Cornerstone:

  • First, it is a stone that is firm and does not move.
  • Secondly, it is a tried stone that has passed through all kinds of trials and has been proven beyond doubt to be that very stone that God has chosenfor the Church.
  • Thirdly, it is a precious stone.

In the temple of Solomon, there were costly stones that were beyond price in that temple. The price of the Cornerstone, the Son of God, cannot be measured. I was in research science, and there were many theories, but when they contradicted each other, no one knew what the reference point was. Likewise, in the Church, one person has an idea of what should be done and another has the reverse idea. However, we thank God that we have the Cornerstone to which we can go and take all our measurements.


Who are the Other Cornerstones?

We have established the fact that the Cornerstone is the One that gives us all measurements, and it is interesting that He is called the Chief Cornerstone, which means that there are other cornerstones. Now I want to look at those other cornerstones.

In Psalms 144:12, King David through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes a very significant prayer. “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” When I was reflecting on this (because the Lord gave me the word “cornerstone”), I thought that surely it would be in the reverse—the sons being the cornerstones and the daughters being the plants. Then I started to meditate on life and wondered if we realise the absolute significance that women play in life. As we look at life, we have very significant statements made by David’s son, King Solomon.


Who is the Foolish Woman?

In Proverbs 14:1, it reads: “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her
hands.” That scripture became written indelibly in my heart when I was an assistant pastor in France. When I say Proverbs14:1 was so vivid to me, it was because the wife of the pastor, whom I had assisted in France, kept asking me why was it that the Lord repeatedly gave her this scripture. I responded that it was probably because there was something that she was going to do which would either destroy her house or build it, and I advised her to take that scripture very seriously because God knows the future. After a time, I left that church to go to another country. A few years afterwards, the pastor left for another church, fell into adultery, and committed suicide. The fact was that by her attitude, the pastor’s wife had driven him away into the arms of another woman. She did not care for her husband, nor encourage him. Instead, she criticised and tore him down, and as a result, she brought down her house and her husband. I saw him after he died and it was a terrible situation. His face was in absolute agony because he knew he was going down to hell. While he was wrong to commit adultery, God had placed the responsibility for that household upon the wife.


Who is the Wise Woman?

I will now turn to the subject of the wise woman. In Proverbs 31, we have a description of the wise woman of Proverbs 14. We have already read that the prayer of King David was that the daughters might be as polished cornerstones. In other words, other girls could look at the daughters of Zion and take their measurements from them as to what a daughter should be like and how she should conduct herself.


What are the Qualities of a Cornerstone?

A cornerstone is solid and very strong. The woman of Proverbs 31 was certainly a cornerstone. In Proverbs
31:25, it says, “Strength and honour are her clothing.” On the subject of strength, a cornerstone is very strong because it is not only a point of reference, but it must be able to bear the weight of the other stones that are put on top of it. Another quality of a cornerstone is that it does not move. It is always in its appointed place. One quality of a daughter of Zion is that she does not vacillate or go up and down.


Women as Cornerstones in Marriage

Marriage is very important. I had a very happy marriage and so I take marriage very seriously. In Proverbs 31:15- 17, it says of the virtuous woman: “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” We see that the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is married and has great responsibilities. She has to run the home, be a good manager, and maintain her home, building, and garden. These verses speak of the strength of a woman. Having lived through life, I can tell you that the tremendous power of a woman can not and should not be underestimated.

A woman is created to be a helpmate to the man and to be a strength unto him. Some people seem to marry at a very young age. In England, in my generation, if you were in the civil service or bank, you were not allowed to marry under the age of 25 years because they did not think that people under that age were responsible, steady, or financially stable enough to be set in their course. I have noticed that with couples that marry at a young age, the husband often plateaus because the bulk of his concentration tends to be on his home and his wife. If, however, the wife is set in her course, then she has matured and is strong, and can be such a strength unto her husband.

In Proverbs 31:18-20, we see that the woman is a hard worker and takes care of the poor and needy: “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.”

In Proverbs 31:21-23 , it speaks of the other qualities of the wise woman: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” To have a cornerstone as a wife means that you will have stability in the home. This is especially important in the ministry because the ministry is the most difficult life possible. My wife and I traveled seven years, constantly— without stopping, not knowing where our next meal, bed, or church would be. We walked by faith—the pressure was tremendous, but my wife was strong. The result was that we went through that period of our lives united in purpose, and she was such a strength to me, never having moods. She was stable, like a cornerstone. This was the cry of King David, that our daughters be as cornerstones—steady, stable, reliable, and always there. My wife never cried, complained, or asked whether we should continue. Even as we faced difficult situations, she was constant, reliable, and my encourager. She would pray and we would determine together where our next port of call was. She would always have such joy every time she packed our cases in moving to the next place, and many times we went out, like Abraham, not knowing where we were going. The point is this: I did not have to worry about my wife, holding her like a frail violet. She was strong. Of course, we were not teenagers when we were married. We married in the timing of God when both of us had been worked on by God. By the grace of God, when we were married, we realised how much alike we were—one would start a sentence and the other would finish it. We had a hard but happy life because she was constant and I could rely on her. Soon we found out the respective strengths of each other and so we divided up the work. A cornerstone is very precious, and that is what God wants each of our daughters to be like—steady, and in the appointed place. When the time comes for marriage, they will be such a strength to their husband. Men need encouragement at times. When a man comes home from work, he wants to be encouraged by his wife when he tells her about the things he has gone through

In Proverbs 31:29, it says, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” While I was in Africa, the Lord started to speak to me about our daughters being cornerstones. During one of the night meetings, when I had finished preaching on the journey from Egypt to Zion, one of the lady pastors got up and prayed the details of my message and added some, sealing the entire message in prayer. What a strength to the church and a cornerstone she was. We must be patient while we are being prepared. One does not become a cornerstone overnight, but a girl has to have a point of reference—a role model. It has to be the mothers of Israel, those who are mature and are walking with the Lord. From these role models, she can learn how to speak, dress, and conduct her conversation. God wants the ladies to be polished cornerstones, that wherever they go, people can tell their daughters to look at them so their daughters can see what they should be.


Cornerstones Impacting Others

If you qualify as a cornerstone, you will have a beautiful house in heaven. I understand that my wife has a beautiful house in heaven from those who have seen it. The quality of your house will be according to your life here. It is the cry and desire of the Spirit that you be a cornerstone, that wherever you go, people can say, “She is a cornerstone, a daughter of Zion—a point of reference that brings stability into the lives of many others.” I have been influenced mightily in my life by men whom I just looked at and saw a certain quality in each life that impacted me, and said to myself, “I want that.” You never know whom you are influencing and who is looking at you and saying, “I desire that quality. I see that daughter of Zion.”

About the Author

Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a 100 countries during his ministry of over fifty years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over 50 Christian books that have been published around the world and translated into many languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and French.

Dr. Bailey hails from London, England and left there on his first missionary trip to France. From there he went to Switzerland and became co-founder of a missions fellowship called “Croisade Missionaire.” It was there he met his wife who was herself on a missionary trip to Europe and North Africa.

After a pastorate in Washington State, the Baileys were invited to be on the faculty of Elim Bible Institute. Later they were invited to New Zealand where they had an extended ministry and participated in the national awakening that the country experienced. In 1973 they served for more than five years with World MAP, a missions organization that conducted leadership training seminars in many nations throughout the world. This led them to travel and minister in many nations. Then the Lord directed them to establish Hebron Missionary Fellowship at Waverly, NY which is now named Zion Fellowship International.

Dr. Bailey received a Doctor of Theology, Th. D. from Hebron Bible College. He received a Ph. D. in Biblical Studies form Vision Christian Bible Seminary. He also received a Doctor of Divinity, D. D. from Canada Christian College.