January 8, 2017

What is precious?

When I hear the word ‘precious’ I sometimes think of that ugly Gollum in the Lord of the Rings hissing ‘my precious’ as he speaks of the ring, which almost ruins for me the use of this word. Ugh!

Yet ‘precious’ is a good word. Jesus Christ is precious. What He has done for me is precious. My husband and family are precious to me, as are my friends and even those things that I value.

‘Precious’ is used often in the Bible. Most of what is called ‘precious’ in the Old Testament is gold, silver, gems, or anything that God gives to bless His people. For instance, Moses blessed Joseph by saying, “Blessed by the Lord be his land, with the most precious gifts of heaven above, and of the deep that crouches beneath . . . .” (Deuteronomy 33:13)

However, not everything called precious referred to material things. King David valued his gold and silver yet he also said, “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

The New Testament uses ‘precious’ strictly to describe God’s blessings sent down from above. Certainly Jesus is at the top of the list . . .

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious . . . . For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’” (1 Peter 2:4,6)

A bit earlier in 1 Peter, God reminds me again that I have been “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from my forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18–19)

God’s promises are also precious. He promises salvation and brings it to pass. He promises Jesus will return, and this will also happen. Peter uses the work ‘precious’ to describe more of His promises . . .

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3–4)

Yet not all of the blessings of God refer to happy or comfortable things. The Bible says that the Lord sends trials also, not to harm me but “so that the tested genuineness of (my) faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:7)

For God, my faith is more important than material goods or anything else. His priority means that He uses whatever is necessary to deepen my trust in Him and to transform me into the image of His Son.

All of God’s work, even the tough stuff, has become precious to me, but He turns that around and tells me something I can do that is precious to Him. He says I’m not to be concerned about fancy hairdos, jewelry, or clothing as many women are . . . 

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:4)

Sometimes I wonder what I should wear, or fuss in front of the mirror, but such fussing is more about vanity than it is about pleasing God. His blesses me by valuing something that will never grow out of style, or develop wrinkles — and makes precious less about looking good and more about being godly.

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