7/18/90, September 12, 1993
Folks continually remind me that I get too deep into the word of God, so today I just want to present
something very simple.
the fear of the Lord is his treasure. This particular word for treasure is also used throughout the OT to describe silver, gold and other things of great value.
Thus, the Lord's treasure which He promises to His people is a treasure that anyone can claim.
We all know the definition of fear of the Lord:
De 5:29, O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
Pro 8:13 The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
9:10 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.
16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD [men] depart from evil.
All those who fear the Lord have a treasure.
We can trace this treasure into the NT.
The word treasure means: the place in which good and precious things are collected and laid up (1a) a casket, coffer, or other receptacle, in which valuables are kept (1b) a treasury (1c) storehouse, repository, magazine the things laid up in a treasury, collected treasures.
(It is interesting here that the casket is considered a place of storing something of value.)
There are several usages of treasure in the NT. I will mention one and use another:
Heb 11:26 tells us that Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater treasure than all the gold, silver and wealth of Egypt.
The word reproach means such as Christ suffered, for the cause of God, from his enemies. Now, I sure would not think of the sufferings of Christ inflicted by His enemies as a precious treasure, but Moses did.
The one passage I want to examine for a few moments this morning is found in 2 Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Treasure speaks of something that must be stored up and added to.
This verse tells us that there is something of value that has been stored in our mortal bodies of clay. There is a treasure stored within us to be added to and it is for our benefit in our hour of need.
Treasure refers to the Spirit of the Word of God given to us at salvation. That treasure is added to by reading the Word of God, meditating on the Word of God and hiding the Word of God in our hearts.
That treasure, as it is stored in the earthen vessels of God's people, provides the wisdom and power of God to face whatever comes their way.
We have been given something of value in our earthen vessels: God's Spirit of Grace, the power to get up and go again. It is the Word of God at work in His people.
Then Paul goes on to name some of the benefits of this treasure that has been given to us.
I. v. 8, troubled but not distressed.
distress is to be forced out of something because it is too small. Here in this usage, it means to be forced out of something because of trouble.
Here Paul said that we are troubled on every side, surrounded by trouble, but that treasure that has been given to us enables us to continue on. It is the grace of God, the power of by His Spirit to stick to what He wants us to do regardless of the pressure which is on us to force us out.
The treasure here for those who fear Him (the Spirit of God), keeps us from being overcome by the troubles around us as we dwell on the source of His power, the Word of God.
II. v. 8, Perplexed, but not in despair;
Perplexed, which way to go in this situation. What should we do, which way are we to go, how am I to act in this particular situation? Like being lost when we travel and we come to a fork in the road: Which way to I go?
not in despair... Don't despair, the Lord has not forsaken us. Pray, read and meditate on the word of God, and He will direct our paths. He will show us the way to go.
The treasure here for those who fear the Lord is that no matter how dark it looks and confusing the way, God has a way outlined for us in His word. We have His Spirit to guide us in finding that direction from His word. We do not have to give up and say that we do not know which way to go. The reason the way is not clear many times is because of our misunderstanding of His word.
III. v. 9, Persecuted but not forsaken;
Persecuted, perused or driven away.
Does it seem that every way we turn, someone or something is driving you away from God's presence? Does it seem that all our friends have forsaken us?
but not forsaken. Christ's disciples forsook Him (Mt.27:46). But we are not forsaken by Him.
The treasure, the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, for those who fear Him, is that no matter who turns against us, He will not. Now, certainly, we can turn from Him, and do many times. No matter how alone we may feel, He is still there for His faithful people. When no one else understands, He does.
He is the only friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Those who fear Him are not alone no matter how they feel.
IV. v. 9, Cast down... (thrown down, knocked down, tripped up),
To me, this is the best of the four. It speaks of being knocked down as in a sporting event. Say like boxing or wrestling.
but not destroyed; The idea is of a tag team match. Touch the partner and he will pull the destroyer off of you.
The treasure in the earthen vessels who fear the Lord, is that we may be defeated for now, but we will not be a castaway along the road. As someone said, we are not "road kill."
There are several passages which describe cast down, but not destroyed,two of which are:
Pr 24:16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
The treasure in us is Christ in you, our hope of glory. As we continue to dwell in His word, He will renew our strength to go again. He will give us wisdom for every situation that arises.
I think that this is the best result of the treasure given to those who fear the Lord, of any of them.
We have the treasure within us to enable us to get back up and go again.
There are two things that will lead to sure defeat of God's people: 1. blame someone else for failures 2. refuses to get back up.
Let me close with this quote:
PEOPLE: Former failure now inventor. CHICAGO (AP)-Buchminster Fuller, latter-day Renaissance man and inventor of the geodesic dome, felt he was "really such a failure" 54 years ago that he went to the shore of Lake Michigan, intending to drown himself. (At age of 32.) But he decided instead to concentrate on righting the wrongs of "planet Earth," he said Wednesday to the National Exposition of Contract Interior Furnishings. The feisty 86-year-old told the gathering of 2,000 architects, designers and technicians that by 1927, he had been expelled twice from Harvard, his 4-year-old daughter had died of infantile paralysis, he had been fired from his job and was beset by alcoholism and depression. So he walked out of his Chicago apartment down to Lake Michigan and prepared to throw himself in and commit suicide, Fuller said. "I was really such a failure that I considered getting rid of myself right here by the lakeshore," he said. But he decided he had no right to do that. "Back in 1927, I said to myself if I'm doing what the Almighty wants done to make humans a success, I won't have to go out and earn a living... If I'm really doing what the Almighty wants done, I'll get on." Since then, Fuller had gained worldwide fame as an inventor, engineer, architect, mathematician, cartographer, philosopher, scientist, environmentalist, poet, world planner and educator." (Shreveport-Bossier The Times. June 19, 1981.)
If a man who makes no profession of Christ can make a recovery like this, how much more should we be able to? Notice Paul's words of 2 Cor 4:10 ...life also of Jesus...
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels. What treasure? The Spirit of God and the opportunity from God to get up and go again.