(1 Peter 2:4; 3:4; Psalm 116:15)

Seeing things from God’s point of view is not always easy. In fact, sometimes, it is impossible. We could not cope with knowing everything or having to be in control of the whole universe.

There are times, however, when it is critical that we understand what matters to God, to see what He sees, and value what He values. Our salvation depends on it. Fortunately, we are not left in doubt about what really counts to Him because He tells us through His Word.

There is a wonderful phrase that occurs several times in some of our English translations of the Bible. It is, “precious in the sight of God.” God tells us what He sees as precious. In our Scripture references above, "precious" can mean "valuable" (in 1 Peter 2:4) and "(very) expensive" or "costly" (in 1 Peter 3:4) according to Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. In Psalm 116:15 it can mean "rare" or "splendid" according to The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.

It is possible for us, from our perspective on earth, to see and understand some of what is of surpassing value to God, from His perspective in Heaven. With this in mind, please consider with me three special examples of that which is valuable, costly and splendid in the sight of God.


The apostle Peter tells us that God’s Son is “choice and precious” in His sight:
And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4)
Drawing on the imagery of Isaiah (28:16), a book with much to say about the restoration and rebuilding of God's people, Peter describes Jesus as a living stone, the cornerstone of a spiritual house, God’s church. As a building material, stone is solid, strong, supportive and durable. Christ is a special stone with a unique place in the building; He is the corner stone (Psalm 118:22b). God placed this choice and precious stone in this special place at great cost: Jesus' death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins.

Peter goes on to say that Christians too are living stones being built into God's house right along with Christ; we are brought in safely through baptism (3:18-22). What a marvellous and encouraging thought this is. He confirms it by saying “this precious value then is for you who believe” (2:7a). What, rather Who, matters most to God is for our benefit; God gives the precious value of Christ for us who believe!

Peter wrote to Christians who lived as “aliens” (1:1) in remoter parts of the Roman Empire that had lost their national identities to Rome. These believers also faced persecution for their faith in Christ. They knew what it meant to be rejected. But they were not rejected in God’s sight. They were being built into God’s house. They became “a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (2:9b). Though we may be rejected, as Christ was, we have value from God, and we are valuable to Him. All this is possible because of Jesus.

A Gentle and Quiet Spirit

Having identified Christians as God's people and part of His spiritual house, Peter proceeds to give practical instructions on how Christians are to live as members of God's household. Even though they are "aliens and strangers" in this world (2:11b), their behaviour here is to be the best possible example, proof of their relationship with God above. Peter addresses servants, wives, husbands, elders, and God's church at large.

In the course of his guidance to wives, Peter says that their adornment should not be just external; they should,

let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:4).
This is enlightening. Among all the beautiful things we can behold in God's creation the "hidden person of the heart," and the "imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit" are precious to our Creator. Though the heart is invisible, its work is plain to all. Character comes from within, showing itself through the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. What power it has. Peter says that an obedient wife can win her disobedient husband "without a word" (1 Peter 3:1).

Just in case any are inclined to think the importance of inner character is the domain of women only, Peter challenges us:

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit. (1 Peter 3:8)
God has His eye on our hearts. What goes on inside of us matters to Him. It also makes a difference in the lives of those around us. How the world needs more gentle and quiet souls. By the power of His Spirit we can be this kind of people.

The Death of His Godly Ones

The Old Testament book of Psalms tells us about something else that is very costly and valuable to God. Psalm 116:15 says:
Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.
This verse appears in a Psalm of thanksgiving. The author thanks the LORD for saving his life and for still being able to walk before Him in "the land of the living" (Psalm 116:9b). He observes that God sees the deaths of His people as precious and valuable. They are on their way home to Him.

From the way we see things on earth, death is an enemy, something most people dread and avoid talking about. We often see death as frightening, a tragedy that no one wants to be part of. Even getting old has taken on undesirable negative connotations; we are getting closer to the grave. Life's ideal is to be young.

But God has a different view from the other side. To Him, the death of one of His children is precious. An infinitely valuable soul has ended life faithful to Him. When one of God's people dies, their life on earth comes to an end, but their eternal life continues. It has no end.

In Our Lives

We can know what is most precious to God. What matter to Him from His perspective in heaven can enrich our lives daily here on earth. His values can make a difference in our lives each day when we make them our values too. We can make them work for us in several ways, when we: 1) let Christ be as precious to us as He is to God; He will be the focus of our lives; 2) realize we mean something to God; the value God places on Christ is for us who believe; 3) allow ourselves to be built as living stones into God’s house, the church of Christ; 4) let our character grow more and more like Him; cultivate gentleness and quietude in our hearts; 5) see the value of others; 6) see life as a gift from Him; 7) let God’s values act as a compass for our course; 8) realize death is not the end of life; God gives His people an everlasting future; He is there for us.

When the world rejects you as unfit for its building projects, as it rejected Christ, realize that God can give you value and make you a living stone in His spiritual house. See and treasure what is "precious in the sight of God."

Paul Birston

November 2000©

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