Not long after I had become a Christian believer I found a music cassette in the public library in Cape Town where I was living. It was a choir singing children’s hymns and one in particular impressed me. The words were ‘When He cometh, when He cometh to make up His jewels, all His jewels, precious jewels, His loved and His own. Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning, they shall shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown’. It was only many years later that I found the music in a book of hymns and someone had put the Bible reference Malachi 3:17.
Malachi was given a burden of the Word of the Lord to give to Israel, the Lord’s people. God had loved and chosen them but they had not loved and honoured Him. The Lord was going to return to His people but the question was who would be able to stand when He appeared. He would refine them like silver and gold in the fire. The Lord would judge and condemn those who were practising witchcraft, who were immoral, who were liars and who were oppressing the weak – widows, orphans and foreigners in the land. God was saying ‘For I am the LORD, I do not change’ (Malachi 3:6). He also said ‘Return to Me and I will return to you’ (Malachi 3:7).
It seems that some people were convicted by this message from God and they talked to one another about it. They worshipped the Lord and knew He was holy. They had awe and the right kind of fear of the Lord. They meditated on His name. They were righteous and not wicked. They served God. So when God would come in judgement these ones would be spared. He is able to make a distinction between those who are very precious to Him and those who aren’t.
Back in the book of Genesis we read that Noah had been found righteous, and so had Abraham and they were both precious to the Lord. They were different to the people around them in God’s eyes. God spared them and in sparing them He spared His Covenant people for His future purposes.
I found another verse in the Bible recently about God’s people being jewels, but this one was about being jewels for His crown. It comes in the passage about the King of Zion coming to His people on a donkey. ‘The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people, for they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land’ (Zechariah 9:16).
Righteousness seems to go hand in hand with being jewels in a crown and Isaiah also describes the righteousness of Jerusalem as a crown of glory. ‘You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God’ (Isaiah 62:3). No wonder Jesus said ‘Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father’ (Matthew 13:43).
Prayer: Father God, may I be found as a precious jewel in Your crown when You come to gather Your people to Yourself. May I be filled with the righteousness of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. Amen.
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