We all have certain things which we treasure. They could be anything such as old faded photographs, beautiful paintings, a piece of restored furniture, a family bible or valuable jewelry. We cherish these special things and keep them in a safe place.
The prophet Malachi spoke of God’s faithful people being like treasures: “They will be mine, says the Lord Almighty, in the day when I make up my treasured possession” (Malachi 3:17). Today that means you and I, Christians of the 21st century!
When the shepherds visited Mary and Joseph shortly after Jesus was born, revealing all that the angels had told them about Jesus, Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). About 12 years later, on their way back to Nazareth, she again “treasured all these things in her heart” after Jesus had spent three days in the Temple courts conversing with the teachers (Luke 2:51). Knowing and remembering all these things must surely have helped her get through those agonizing three days between his crucifixion and resurrection.
King Hezekiah of Judah who ruled around 700BC, was a righteous king who served God faithfully and was blessed for doing so. However he made one serious mistake. When some envoys from Babylon visited him, he showed them all his “silver, gold, spices, fine oil, his entire armoury and everything found among his treasures” (Isaiah 39:2). When the nation of Judah was taken into captivity some years later, the Babylonians knew exactly where to find everything of value. Nothing was left behind as the prophet had warned him. Perhaps he had a false sense of security amidst the peace and blessing he enjoyed.
But this all happened in the distant past. What meaning can it have for us today?
For example, if an estate agent from a well-known agency came to my door and asked if she could give me a market valuation for my house, would I show her where I store my jewelry? Would I reveal to her the value of an original work of art? How foolish would that be!
As Christians, what should be our greatest treasure today? Just as Mary stored the words of the Prophet Simeon and those of her Son, so we too should store up the Word of God in our hearts and minds. This is the kind of treasure we can readily share with others. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul describes it as “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Of all the items of spiritual armour, this is our only offensive weapon. Jesus used it to great effect when he had a verbal spar with the devil and so can we when our faith is challenged.
It’s a good idea to memorise some key Scriptures. We never know when they might be vitally necessary. And the best part is no one can break in and steal them. They are in the safest possible place!