“They will be Mine!” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up My jewels!” Malachi 3:17
God’s people are His jewels–His own special treasure!
In what sense are the saints, God’s jewels?
Jewels are precious things; the Hebrew word for jewels signifies a treasure. A treasure is made up of costly things–gold, and diamonds and rubies. Such a precious treasure, are the saints to God.
They are jewels for their sparkling quality. Their holiness shines and sparkles in God’s eyes! (Song of Solomon 4:9), “You have ravished My heart, with one glance of your eyes!” That is, with one of your graces.
The godly are jewels for their scarcity. Diamonds are not common. Just so, the godly are scarce and rare. There are but few of these to be found. There are many false professors (as there are many plastic diamonds)–but few true Christians. Among the millions in Rome, there were but few senators. Just so, among the swarms of people in the world–there are but few true believers.
The godly are jewels for their price. Queen Cleopatra had two jewels which were worth half the price of a kingdom. Thus the saints are jewels, for their value. God esteems them at a high rate; He parted with His best jewel for them–Christ’s precious blood was shed to ransom these jewels!
The saints are jewels for their adorning quality. Jewels adorn those who wear them. The saints are jewels which adorn the world. Their piety mixed with prudence honors the gospel. Hypocrites eclipse true religion and make it badly spoken of. The saints as jewels, render it illustrious by their sanctity.
God the Father has chosen these jewels, and set them apart for Himself!
Christ has bought these jewels with His blood!
The Holy Spirit has sanctified them. When they were a lump of sin–He made them into His jewels! He will string these pearls together–and put them into His celestial cabinet!
Bless God who has wrought such a change in you! From lumps of dirt and sin–He has made you into His jewels!
(Thomas Watson, “The Good Shepherd”)
“I am the Good Shepherd–I know My sheep!” John 10:14
Christ knows all of His sheep.
His knowing His sheep–is His loving them. This is a great consolation.
He knows every one of their names.
“He calls His own sheep by name.” John 10:3
He knows all the sighs and groans they make.
“My groaning is not hidden from You.” Psalm 38:9
Christ knows every tear they shed.
“I have seen your tears!” 2 Kings 20:5
He bottles their tears as precious wine! “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” Psalm 56:8
He knows all their sufferings.
“I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.” Exodus 3:9
“The Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel.” 2 Kings 14:26
Christ knows all their good works–all their works of piety and charity.
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance.” Revelation 2:2
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep!” John 10:11
“He will place the sheep at His right hand–and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to those on the right: Come, you who are blessed by My Father–inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” Matthew 25:33-34
What a comfort is this!
(Thomas Watson, “The Lord’s Prayer”)
“Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You!” Psalm 73:25
We may know the kingdom of grace is set up in our hearts–by having true desires after God. By the beating of this pulse–we conclude there is life.
A true desire after God is sincere. We desire God for Himself, for His intrinsic excellencies. The savor of the ointment of Christ’s graces draws the virgins’ desires after Him. Canticles 1:3. A true saint desires Him not only for what God has–but for what He is; not only for His rewards–but for His holiness. No hypocrite can thus desire God. He may desire God for His jewels–but not for His beauty!
A true desire after God is insatiable. It cannot be satisfied without God; let the world heap her honors and riches–they will not satisfy. No flowers or music will content him who is thirsty. Just so, nothing will quench the soul’s thirst–but the blood of Christ! He faints away, his heart breaks with longing for God. Psalm 84:2; Psalm 119:20
A true desire after God is active. It flourishes into endeavor. “With my soul have I desired you in the night–yes, with my spirit within me will I seek You early.” Isaiah 26:9. A soul that desires aright says, “I must have Christ! I must have grace! I must have Heaven, though I take it by storm!”
A true desire after God is supreme. We desire Christ, not only more than the world–but more than Heaven! “Whom have I in Heaven but You?” Psalm 73:25. Heaven itself would not satisfy–without Christ. Christ is the diamond in the ring of glory!
A true desire after God is increasing. A little of God will not satisfy–but the pious soul desires still more. A drop of water is not enough for the thirsty traveler. Though a Christian is thankful for the least degree of grace–yet he is not satisfied with the greatest degree of grace. He still thirsts for more of Christ, and His Spirit. A saint would have more knowledge, more sanctity, more of Christ’s presence. A glimpse of Christ through the lattice of an ordinance is sweet; but the soul will never stop longing–until it sees Him face to face! It desires to have grace perfected in glory! It desires to be wholly plunged into the sweetness of God. We would be swallowed up in God, and be forever bathing ourselves in those perfumed waters of pleasure which run at His right hand!
Surely this sincere desire after God is a blessed sign that the kingdom of grace has come into our hearts. The beating of this pulse shows life! Desires for God–are from God. If iron moves upwards contrary to its nature–it is a sign some magnet has been drawing it. Just so, if the soul moves towards God in sincere desires–it is a sign the magnet of the Spirit has been drawing it!
“He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him.” Psalm 145:19
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Eternity to the godly, is a day that has no sunset.
Eternity to the godless, is a night that has no sunrise.
(Thomas Watson, “All Things for Good”)
“We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
See what cause the saints have to be frequent in the work of thanksgiving! In this, Christians are defective; though they are much insupplication — yet they are little in thanksgiving. The apostle says, “In everything give thanks!” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Why so? Because God makes everything work together for our good. We thank the physician, though he gives us a bitter medicine which makes us nauseated — because it is to make us well. We thank any man who does us a good turn; and shall we not be thankful to God — who makes everything work for good to us?
God loves a thankful Christian! Job thanked God when He took all away: “The Lord has taken away — blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). Many will thank God when He gives; Job thanks Him when He takes away, because he knew that God would work good out of it.
We read of saints with harps in their hands — an emblem of praise (Revelation 14:2). Yet we meet many Christians who have tearsin their eyes, and complaints in their mouths! But there are few with their harps in their hands — who praise God in affliction.
To be thankful in affliction — is a work peculiar to a saint.
Every bird can sing in spring — but few birds will sing in the dead of winter!
Everyone, almost, can be thankful in prosperity — but a true saint can be thankful in adversity!
Well may we, in the worst that befalls us — have a psalm of thankfulness, because God works all things for our good. Oh, be much in giving thanks to God!
“These men have set up their idols in their hearts!” Ezekiel 14:3
“Their heart went after their idols!” Ezekiel 20:16
“We are all born idolaters!” Thomas Watson
“An idol is an idol–whether worshiped inwardly in heart, or adorned outwardly by the knee.” J.C. Philpot
“Every one of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols. Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual idol factory!” John Calvin
“An idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.” A.W. Tozer
“O wretched idol, MYSELF!” Samuel Rutherford
“If we are indeed Christians–we have broken a great many idols. We have still some more to break–and we must keep the hammer going until they are all broken!” Charles Spurgeon
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!” Ezekiel 14:6
“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols!” 1 John 5:21
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You may want to read J.C. Philpot’s powerful and insightful 2 page article, “The History of an Idol!“
He who loves God—desires his presence. Lovers cannot be long apart, they soon have their fainting fits, for lack of a sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love with God, desires the enjoyment of Him in His ordinances, in the Word, prayer, and sacraments. David was ready to faint away and die when he had not a sight of God. „My soul faints for God“ (Psalm 84:2). Such as care not for ordinances, but say, „When will the Sabbath be over?“ plainly reveal their lack of love to God.
He who loves God—does not love sin. „You who love the Lord, hate evil“ (Psalm 97:10). The love of God, and the love of sin, can no more mix together than iron and clay. Every sin loved, strikes at the being of God. He who loves God, has a hatred of sin. He who would part two lovers is a hateful person. God and the believing soul are two lovers; sin parts between them, therefore the soul is implacably set against it. By this try your love to God. How could Delilah say she loved Samson, when she entertained correspondence with the Philistines, who were his mortal enemy?
He who loves God—is not much in love with anything else. His love is very cool to worldly things. His love to God moves swiftly, as the sun in the skies; to the world it moves slowly, as the sun on the dial. The love of the world eats out the heart of piety; it chokes good affections, as earth puts out fire. The world was a dead thing to Paul. „I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to me“ (Gal. 6:14). In Paul we may see both the picture and pattern of a mortified man. He who loves God, uses the world—but choosesGod. The world engages him, but God delights and satisfies him. He says as David, „God my exceeding joy!“ That is, God is the gladness or cream of my joy (Psalm 43:4).
He who loves God—cannot live without him. Things we love we cannot be without. A man can do without music or flowers, but not food; so a soul deeply in love with God looks upon himself as undone without Him. „Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit“ (Psalm 143:7). He says to Job, „I went mourning without the sun“ (Job 30:28). That is, „I have starlight, I lack the Sun of Righteousness; I want to enjoy the sweet presence of my God.“ Is God our chief good, and we cannot live without Him? Alas! how do they show they have no love to God, who can do well enough without Him! Let them have food and drink, and you shall never hear them complain of the lack of God.
He who loves God—will be at any pains to get him. What pains the merchant takes, what hazards he runs, to have a rich return from the Indies! Jacob loved Rachel, and he could endure the heat by day, and the frost by night, that he might enjoy her. A soul that loves God will take any pains for the fruition of Him. „My soul follows hard after God“ (Psalm 63:8). Love is the weight which keeps the clock going. It is much in prayer, weeping, fasting; it strives as in agony that he may obtain Him whom his soul loves. Plutarch reports of the Gauls, an ancient people of France, that after they had tasted the sweet wine of Italy, they never rested until they had arrived at that country. He who is in love with God, never rests until he has a part in Him. „I sought him whom my soul loves“ (Song of Sol. 3:2). How can they say they love God, who are not industrious in the use of means to obtain Him? He is not in agony, but lethargy. If Christ and salvation would drop as a ripe fig into his mouth, he would be content to have them; but he is loath to put himself to too much trouble. Does he love his friend, who win not undertake a journey to see him?
He who loves God—prefers him before estate and life.
(1) Before estate–„For whom I have suffered the loss of all things“ (Phil. 3:8). Who that loves a rich jewel, would not part with a flower to obtain it? Galeacius parted with a great estate to enjoy God in His pure ordinances. When a Jesuit persuaded him to return to his popish religion in Italy, promising him a large sum of money, he said: „Let their money perish with them who esteem all the gold in the world worth one day’s communion with Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit.“
(2) Before life–„They loved not their lives to the death“ (Rev. 12:11). Love to God carries the soul above the love of life, and the fear of death.
He who loves God—loves his favorites, the saints (1 John 5:1). To love a man for his grace and the more we see of God in him, the more we love him—that is an infallible sign of love to God. The wicked pretend to love God, but hate and persecute the saints, who are his image. Does he love his prince who abuses his statue, or tears his picture? They seem indeed to show great reverence to saints departed; they have great reverence for Saint Paul, and Saint Stephen, and Saint Luke; they canonize dead saints, but persecute living saints. Do they love God? Can it be imagined that he loves God—who hates His children because they are like God? If Christ were alive again, He would not escape a second persecution.
If we love God we cannot but be fearful of dishonoring him. The more a child loves his father—the more he is afraid to displease him, and will weep and mourn when he has offended him. „Peter went out and wept bitterly“ (Matt. 26:75). Peter might well think that Christ dearly loved him, when He took him up to the mount where He was transfigured, and showed him the glory of heaven in a vision. That Peter should deny Christ after he had received such signal tokens of His love—this broke his heart with grief „He wept bitterly.“ Are our eyes dropping tears of grief for sin against God? It is a blessed evidence of our love to God; and such shall find mercy. „He shows mercy to thousands of those who love Him.“
Use. Let us be lovers of God. We love our food—but shall we not love Him who gives it? All the joy we hope for in heaven is in God; and shall not He who shall be our joy then, be our love now? It is a saying of Augustine, „Is it not punishment enough Lord, not to love you?“ And again, „I would hate my own soul if I did not find it loving God.“
It is hard to prescribe a just measure of humiliation. It is the same in the new birth as in the natural. Some give birth with more pangs, and some with fewer. But would you like to know when you are bruised enough? When your spirit is so troubled that you are willing to let go those lusts which brought in the greatest income of pleasure and delight. When not only is sin discarded but you are disgusted with it, then you have been bruised enough. The medicine is strong enough when it has purged out the disease. The soul is bruised enough when the love of sin is purged out.
~“The Godly Man’s Picture” pg. 227