And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them…
Here is an inspired truth, setting forth the relation subsisting between God and His people, and illustrating His love for, and joy in, them.
I. God's own ESTIMATION OF THE REAL VALUE OF A SINCERE CHRISTIAN. He calls them His "jewels" or "His peculiar treasure." All rare and beautiful and precious things in earth and heaven are employed as metaphorical of the value God puts upon His people and the affection He bears them. A Christian man is more than a "spirit," he is a redeemed and regenerated spirit. The value of a gem is not in its composition, but in its crystallisation. Even a diamond is composed mostly of carbon, but differs from the black coal of our furnaces only in this mysterious transfiguration. And a change analogous to this has every saved soul undergone. The spiritual man has, through gracious crystallisation, become a gem, reflecting Divine light, and thus fitted for a diadem. What marvel then that God counts His people more precious than the stars, and calls them " His peculiar treasure."
II. AN EXPLANATION OF GOD'S STRANGE TREATMENT OF HIS CHILDREN. The true believer may say, "If I am thus valued, why does He so afflict me?" The text suggests the answer. After finding or purchasing a gem, the next thing is to polish it. And this is always a gentle work. Of the rarer gems the ancients supposed the cutting and polishing impossible. The large diamonds which ornamented the imperial mantle of Charlemagne are yet preserved as uncut crystals. It was only later that men learned how the diamond might be cut, by attrition with another diamond, and polished on a wheel charged with diamond dust. And herein is found the only criterion of the true gem. The service of the Christian's afflictions is twofold. They prove and they polish the spiritual gem.
1. They are necessary to prove it. There are many counterfeits in religion. Any reliable test of godliness must have power to go beneath the outward show into the real essence.
2. Even when the piety is sincere, such afflictions are useful to develop and discipline it. Before the diamond is set in a kingly crown it must be roughly pressed on the diamond wheel. All afflictions are God's means of polishing. Here we are instructed as to the seeming partiality of God's treatment of different Christians, for men may be equally pious, and alike dear to our Heavenly Father, and yet their mortal experiences be widely dissimilar. Gems are of different degrees of hardness, and are to be set in different conditions. They require very variant cutting, and unequal polishing. So with the true people of God; one is only smoothed with a file, while another must be pressed on the grinding wheel. He will not grind His jewels more than they need.
III. A PREDICTION OF THE FUTURE DIGNITY AND GLORY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. "In the day when I make up My jewels." The reference is to the great day of Christ's coming. The metaphor is of a mighty conqueror, who, having overthrown all enemies, appears laden with spoil, leading captive his foes, marching in triumph, magnificent in regalia, over the royal highway. Then God's saints will be gathered to Christ, and God's "jewels " be made up as precious stones into a crown, or as stars into a constellation. In that great day of manifestation the moral rather than the natural attributes of God are to be especially glorified. It is only in the economy of grace that what we may term the Divine affections are perfectly displayed. Let this fair picture be hung in our chambers of imagery. This material universe is only a great platform, erected temporarily for the coronation of Immanuel, and the redeemed spirits of the just made perfect. "God's jewels," — or as Isaiah has it, "God's crown of glory," "God's royal diadem." The richest gems blazing in the many crowns of Immanuel will be the souls of Christ's redeemed ones — these diamonds, dug from the black caverns of death — these pearls, brought up from the stormy depths of hell — these blood-bought, grace-preserved, grief-polished "jewels of God."
(Charles Wadsworth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.