And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision. 1 Samuel 3:1
For years since my mother went to be with the Lord in 1990, I have asked people if they knew where her bible was, but no one seemed to know. However, two days ago I asked the right person and yesterday I had this treasure in my hands. This beautiful, precious treasure. Today as I was doing my bible reading I decided to use her bible. It is the Thompson Chain-Reference King James Version Bible given to her by my father in 1985. In the front of the bible is a picture of her first grandson, Sean, taped to the pages. As I gently leafed through this treasure I took the time to read all her personal notes and thoughts on the scriptures. I also paid close attention to the highlighted passages. As I was turning the pages I noticed she had 1 Samuel Chapter 3 verses 1-13 highlighted, so I started reading. But I could not get past this first verse. I had read the book of Samuel before but I never noticed something that was just standing out to me in this particular verse….And the word of the Lord was precious in those days… The word of the Lord was PRECIOUS in those days. My version of the Bible is the New International Version, so I looked up what the NIV version said in that scripture verse and it says…In those days the word of the Lord was rare… No wonder I overlooked it. I had been taught that the Lord had been silent for a while at times in the Old Testament so there was nothing in that verse that would stand out to me while reading it from the NIV bible.I knew his word was rare to hear in that day, but the word, “precious” stood out to me as well as “in those days”. In “those” days. What about in “these” days? As disturbing as that phrase was to me, it was also pretty self-explanatory. So I looked up the word “precious” in the Strong’s to see what the original meaning of the word was and why the KJV used precious while the NIV used rare. This is what I found:
The original Hebrew word is Yaqar and it is an adjective. Different meanings are; valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid, costly, highly valued, precious stones or jewels, glorious, influential.
The Lexicon said it is the same word used in Ps. 116:15 “how precious is thy loving kindness, O God! It also said see the verb. So I went to the root word which is the same word, Yaqar, but is a verb and it means: to esteem, be prized, be precious, be costly, be appraised, be highly valued, to make something precious.
Wow! God’s word was precious, prized, weighty, splendid, highly valued, glorious, influential, and as rare precious jewels…in those days.
As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning I thought how awesome for them, but how sad and grievous for us. For I do not believe that we treat God’s word as they did…in those days. At least not here in America. Oh how very spoiled we truly are! How many bibles are in my home? I do not know because I never took the time to count them all. But the fact that I have so many that I need to count says a lot about how spoiled I am, along with many other Americans and most definitely the church in America. And then there are the on-line bibles so readily available through internet sites such as my favorite, Blue Letter Bible.
So as I continued to ponder this I began to wonder; Has God’s word lost most of it’s value to us? Has it lost its splendidness? Has it lost its influence in our and lives in our country? Do we value His words in these days like a rare precious stone? Are his words still weighty to us?
Yes, I am most certainly speaking of God’s written word, the Bible, the book that sits on our shelves or on our end-tables often covered with dust. But I am also referencing his spoken words. The words he speaks through his servants. Do we reverence the words he gives to us through our Pastors? Our Evangelists? Our Prophets? Do we even know any Prophets? Where are they? And what about the words he speaks to us through his servants at church? Words given to us through tongues and interpretation of tongues? Words of knowledge and words of wisdom that he gives to us through others and speaks to us personally? Do we hold these words as precious and valuable to us? Or do we take these words, tuck them in our pockets and then forget about them? Do we hear the words spoken and say, “good word” and then think of it no more as we go about our busy daily lives, treating his word as something much, much less than precious? Oh, how spoiled we have become! I marvel at God’s great love and patience towards us and often wonder why he keeps speaking when it seems no one is listening.
It is easy to see how God’s word has lost its value to us, to this generation. It is not something we had to work for, it is not something we had to struggle to receive, or work hard to earn. His Word, written and spoken, has always been there for us. What is it that makes a rare and precious stone prized and valuable? The fact that it is rare. And if we actually owned a jewel so rare and so valuable, how would we would treat it? I believe we would most certainly get it appraised. And after the appraiser carefully examines it and tells us it’s worth we would hold it as something even more valuable because of knowing its great worth. Then we would most likely adorn the jewel by surrounding it with gold and other precious jewels that would make this particular jewel look even better, if possible. Then we would proudly wear it and display it for all to see. We’d carefully put it on each morning and carefully remove it each evening ,then tuck it away someplace safe until we awake again blessed to have another day where we could admire its’ beauty and share its’ splendidness with whomever we would come in contact with that day. How foolish it would be if we owned a precious and rare jewel and kept it buried in a “safe place” or even displayed in a “nice place” while living a life of poverty and watching our children and loved ones die of sickness, starvation, and disease with no hope for a future. How foolish that would be!
Do we treat God’s word as something rare and valuable? Or are we being foolish with it? Do we carefully examine it in order to know it’s true worth? Do we admire the beauty, the weightiness, and influence of God’s words? Do we surround God’s Word with other writers of God inspired books written by authors who have studied His word so that we can appreciate and understand the value of God’s word even more? Do we desire to share His word with all we meet each and every day so that they too can admire His beauty? Or do we keep His Word neat and clean on a shelf or a stand simply to look at and to admire externally as we pass by it each day? Or, even worse, do we keep His Word buried and hidden inside, not sharing our faith with others for fear of what they would think or say while people all around us are dying?
In today’s world, at least here in America, God’s word is easily accessible and therefore easy to take advantage of. It is easy to discard, brush off and put aside until later when we find the time for it or feel we really need it. Yes, God’s word has lost its’ value in the eyes of many of us who dare to call ourselves “Christian”.
Recently I watched a video of people in another country, I believe it was China, receiving Bibles in their underground Church. As they opened the boxes the excitement shined in the expressions on their faces. They were so excited! When the box was actually opened up and the Bibles handed to them, they held their bible and drew it close to them with tears streaming down their faces. They clung to their Bibles as if they were the most precious and valuable item in the entire world to them. Some even fell to their knees weeping with tears of love appreciation for such a great treasure. When was the last time we cherished God’s word like that?
It is up to us to make God’s word the most valuable possession we have here on this earth. It is up to each of us individually to appraise its value as we dig deeper into God’s word and learn of all its rich and hidden truths. It is up to us to treat God’s word as rare, precious, glorious, prized and highly valued. We are a very spoiled generation and we do not truly understand the cost of something that has cost us almost nothing. We are enjoying the inheritance of those who have gone before us and are behaving like spoiled rich kids living under their daddy’s inheritance.
If we do not take the time to appraise the value of God’s word in our lives, no matter what form it comes in, written or spoken, we will suffer. We will lose. Then we will wonder why and we will wonder what happened while the answer was laying, literally, right before us.
God’s Word IS precious. God’s Word IS valuable and God’s Word IS splendid and God’s Word IS glorious. God’s Word, written or spoken, is life!! Let us gaze into its beauty daily and grab hold of all His precious promises and adorn ourselves daily with His words. Let us treat his words as rare and precious and proudly display the beauty of His words in and through our lives for all to see and marvel in. Let’s stop being spoiled and understand and cherish the value and the power and the influence of Gods very precious words in these days!
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:11
…“Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4: 4-13, 20-23