This lesson is part of a series we’re calling, “Hello, My Name Is… A Series on the Names of God.” You can find the latest when you follow Tara’s author archive. We’ll add links to the whole Bible study once it’s complete.
Lesson Nine: The Rock/Cornerstone
Main Idea: God the Rock is our place of safety. Jesus is the cornerstone and we are the living stones that build the church.
Memory Verse: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
- Read lesson, Scripture references, Psalm 92:12-15, Isaiah 17:1-11, Isaiah 26:4, Psalm 95:1-5, and Psalm 62:2
- Gather: Bible, lesson plan, dry erase markers or chart paper and markers, playing cards or stacking cups, river rocks, permanent markers, paint and brushes or nail polish, wood or cardboard crosses, glue, gravel or other small rocks.
- To help keep track of the names of God learned over this series, write each lesson’s name of God on the board along with the main idea. Tape a strip of paper over the name, and one over the main idea. Use this to review the lesson as you go. Alternatively, use large flash cards with the name of God on the front and the main idea on the back. Create one of these every week and review with the class as you go.
- Take time to meditate on this lesson and apply it to your own life. Psalm 94:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” God, our Rock, is our place of safety. He is the one to whom we should run when times get tough. So often though, instead of turning to the Rock of my salvation, I complain and grumble and forget to be thankful. Obviously, this does not please God. Work to memorize Psalm 94:14. May it help you to bring your focus onto Jesus the firm foundation whenever you struggle through this life.
- Psalm 9:10
- Acts 4:11-12
- Psalm 118:22
- Deuteronomy 32:3-4
- Psalm 18:2
- Matthew 7:24-27
- 1 Peter 2:4-5a
Game: Solid Foundation
Have a cup stacking or house of cards competition. Set up pairs of students or small groups and have each group build towers or houses on different foundations. Have one group build on the floor, one on the table, and one in a chair (preferably one that spins). You could even have a group try to build their tower in a tub filled with sand. Stack a paper plate on top of a couple of taped together cardboard tubes for another flimsy foundation. After everyone has built their towers, come by and try to knock over the towers by moving the foundations. The one on the chair will spin right off, the table will shake the cups or cards into a pile. The only one that will be steady is the tower on the ground, because the foundation of the building is solid. You can’t move it. Just like we cannot be knocked down when we build our lives on Christ, the solid rock.
Message: Open in prayer, then say, today we are going to shake things up a bit! We have spent the last two months memorizing Psalm 9:10. If you have come to every lesson, then by now you probably have it memorized. Raise your hand if you think you do! (Go through the class, either individually or in small groups if your class is large, and have them recite Psalm 9:10. “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”)
Nice work everyone! I am impressed with how well you know our memory verse! If you are still working to memorize it, that’s okay. Just keep going! Otherwise, we are starting a new memory verse today! This is the last one we will work on as we keep learning about the names of God over the next few months. Turn in your Bibles to Acts 4:11-12 so you can follow along as I read our new memory verse to you. As an extra bonus, you will also get a sneak peek into what today’s name of God is!
Follow along as I read Acts 4:11-12. “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Before we talk about today’s name of God, let’s take a few minutes to learn our memory verse.
(Write it on the board: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12.” Take a few minutes to break the verse up and work on memorizing it with the class. Explain that this verse means that we can only be saved when we trust in Jesus. Don’t spend too long on this. Remember, this will be your memory verse for the rest of the series.)
Nice work everyone. Now let’s jump into today’s name of God! You saw a hint of it in Acts 4:11, just before our memory verse. What does it say? (Read, or have a student read, Acts 4:11.) “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’” So in this passage, Peter, the guy who is speaking, is referring to a passage in Psalm 118:22. “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”
What is a cornerstone? (Allow students to answer.) A cornerstone is the stone in the corner of a building. Ya, it’s that simple. The cornerstone is the first one placed when building a building. If the cornerstone isn’t placed just right, then the whole building will be crooked because all the other stones are placed for the building based off of the cornerstone. Jesus is the cornerstone. He was rejected by the religious leaders of the time and sent to die on the cross. But he is the cornerstone, the most important stone in the entire building of faith. Everything we do as we trust in God is built on Jesus, the Cornerstone. We’ll get into that idea a little more near the end of the lesson. Usually so far, we have started with passages from the Old Testament and then moved on to see how Jesus fulfills the name of God in the New Testament. Today we went backwards. We see how Jesus is God with a verse from the book of Acts. Now let’s bounce back into the Old Testament, to the time before Jesus died to save us from our sins, and let’s look more in depth at this name of God.
How about a sword drill? Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bible. When I say go, turn to Deuteronomy 32:3-4. Go! (Read, or have a student read Deuteronomy 32:3-4.) “I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God! He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!” So Jesus is the Cornerstone. How does this passage describe God? (Allow students to answer.)
Yes, God is the Rock. Instead of having me tell you what “Rock” means, let’s work together to make a list on the board. Describe rocks to me, and I will write your descriptions on the board. (Have students brainstorm different characteristics of rocks. For example, rocks are hard, nearly unbreakable, they can be used to build things, they are everywhere, and they make up the mountains.) That is quite a list! Nice work. To call God the Rock is to say that he is strong and stable and trustworthy. The Hebrew word used for “rock” here gets pretty specific. It doesn’t just mean a rock, like the kind you find lying on the ground. It means a cleft in a rock, a place where you could hide and never be found by your enemies. This kind of rock is a refuge, a safe place.
Psalm 18:2 describes God the Rock perfectly. As I read this verse, listen to how many ways David, who wrote this song, describes God. Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” So how many ways does David describe God in this one little verse? (Allow students to answer. Encourage them to look at the verse in their own Bibles. Write the different ways God is described in this verse on the board.) I counted seven different descriptions of God here! David called God his rock twice, so that would make eight.
Let’s write all these descriptions on the board. “Rock, fortress, savior, protector, shield, power that saves, safe place.” See all these descriptions? All of these fit into the title of God the Rock. Saying that God is our Rock is saying that he is our fortress or castle, and that he protects us and shields us. He has the power to save us and he is the one who saves us by dying on the cross for us. He is a safe place. This world can be scary sometimes. Bad things happen for no good reason and people will hate us just because we love Jesus. But God is our Rock. He protects us and keeps us safe.
When I say that God the Rock protects us, I’m not saying that bad things will never happen to us. We still get sick, or lose championship games, or fail tests or have friends move away. Life is rough. God never promises a life without tough times. He does promise to keep us strong through those hard times by being our Rock.
There’s this great story that Jesus told in the New Testament. It’s at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, which is where Jesus taught a whole bunch of stories and taught everyone how to follow him. Anyway, let’s read the story now. As I read, close your eyes and imagine you are sitting and listening to Jesus tell this story. Picture what is going on in the story. (Read Matthew 7:24-27.) “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Jesus is the solid rock. When we listen to him and do what he tells us to, we will be safe even through the scary storms of life. When we choose to follow our own way and ignore Jesus, our lives fall apart.
So God is our Rock. When we listen to him and do what he tells us to, he keeps us safe. Did you know that the Bible calls us rocks, too? Well, stones. 1 Peter 2:4-5a says, “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.” We know that Jesus is the cornerstone. He is the most important rock in God’s temple. This passage tells us that everyone who believes in Jesus gets to be built up into a temple, a holy place for God!
When Christians work together and trust in Jesus, it’s like we are all one big church building, so everyone can see God and come and worship him because they see how much we love God. A church isn’t just a building. The church is all of God’s people in the whole world, living stones who follow him! So this week, trust in God the Rock to help you with your troubles, and obey him so you can be a living stone!
Close in prayer.
Craft: Pocket Rocks
Pocket rocks are smooth river stones with inspirational words on them. They can be kept in your pocket for a daily inspiration. Today your students will make pocket rocks to remind them that God is their rock who will protect them so they can’t be knocked down by troubles in life. Using permanent markers, acrylic paints or nail polish, have the kids paint and decorate the rocks with crosses, words and Scripture references. Once dry, cover with a top coat of Modge Podge or clear nail polish. Allow these to dry before sending them home. If your class finishes this quickly, make
Rock Crosses. As a base, use unfinished wooden crosses or cut crosses out of cardboard before class. Have the kids paint, color and collage the cross. Have the children write out Psalm 18:2 on a piece of paper and glue it to the center of the cross. Once this is complete, they can glue gravel to the cross.