“… our daughters as corner columns carved in resemblance of a palace …” Psalm 144:12 (Hebrew translation)
Do you see him there? The stone mason is there day after day, tirelessly working on the greatest project of all time. He is constructing the corner columns for a building of everlasting beauty. His muscles stopped aching long ago even though he is often bent in the same position, holding mallet and chisel above his head, or squatting uncomfortably on the ground trying to get the last details just right.
Nothing distracts him, for he is ever-eager to accomplish his goal. He only moves on once each pillar is completed, not flawless, but patterned after perfection. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
He is constantly looking at the blueprint of a majestic palace for inspiration and direction. The columns are constructed on a sure foundation, a foundation that stands forever. “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation…” (Isaiah 28:16).
They are patterned after a perfectly built palace, not one that was made by the hands of man, but by God Almighty. Jesus Christ is the pattern and all construction is made to be a reflection of him. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
Each pillar is brought to the mason, rough out of the quarry. Humans, too, are rough to begin with, fashioned after Adam. The first step the mason takes is the most exhausting. He has to take off the majority of the stone in order to get the basic shape of an upright pillar. It would be a mistake to take off huge amounts at a time. The work is grueling, but he meticulously takes off a little here and a little there. King David rightly declared, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. (Psalms 119:73)
It is best to view those who have taken on the name of Jesus Christ as the work of the Heavenly Father, being molded for His glory. “O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
Only a mason understands the incredible importance of establishing the right symmetry. Any further work would be pointless if the column ended up buckling under the structure it was to support. Any crookedness must be corrected in this stage of molding, because “the house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.” (Proverbs 14:11)
The mason continues this process using a point chisel, not yet detailing, but fine-tuning the basic construction. He tests the hardness of the stone and cuts it in crosshatches at specific angles. The harder the stone, the steeper the angles of cutting. How true this is of God’s chosen ones. The fleshlier, the deeper the cuts God has to make. He tailors specific trials in order to refine the character of His sons and daughters. “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
The mason’s excitement mounts as he is able to switch tools, picking up his claw chisel, to start giving the pillar its particular design. After using the chisels, he uses his rasp to smooth the last of his chisel marks and make the minutest details. When others think he may be finished, he has one last tedious work to do.
With his last tool, he sands to smooth the stone, trying his best to get out every last scratch made by the chisels. There will be a day when Christ Jesus will “… change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:21)
When all the columns as well as the rest of the structure constructed for God’s glory is complete, the stone mason puts away his tools for his work is finished. “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (Psalms 138:8)