Like the Jewels of a Crown

When I started coloring my bible years ago, shading something in red was designated for “The Believer/The Church.” Truths about salvation I underline in red, the color of blood. So, covering with red seemed appropriate for observations concerning those bought by the blood.

Thus, in the early years, shaded red text was found mostly in the New Testament portion of my bibles. But over the years, shading in red has been expanded to cover the broader topic of “The People of God.” Be it ancient Israel of the Old Covenant, or the Bride of Christ under the New, the relational privileges, and the essential responsibilities for those God calls to be His own are essentially the same. To know their God. To dwell in holiness with God in their midst. To make known their God and be a blessing to all nations.

This morning, reading again in Zechariah, I shaded in red a reference to the people of God which brought to mind an old hymn and a fresh wave of wonder and worship.

In Zechariah 9 the prophet is shown a day when the promised King comes to reign. “Behold, you King is coming to you,” says the LORD, “righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9). Sound familiar? A reference to the Christ’s first entrance into Jerusalem, that triumphal entrance we celebrate as palm Sunday (Mt. 21:1-9).

The prophet is told that “because of the blood of My covenant with you,” that the coming King would set prisoners free “from a waterless pit” and return them to Zion, the place where the glory dwells (9:11-12). In that place, the LORD of hosts says, He “will appear over them” (9:14), and “protect them” (9:15), and “save them” (9:16). But in verse 16 there’s also a couple of observations to be made about the people of God.

On that day the LORD their God will save them, as the flock of His people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on His land.

(Zechariah 9:16 ESV)

Observation one, God sees His people as a flock. Nothing new there. Familiar imagery. Transcends the Old Testament. Just as relevant in the New where Messiah, the Good Shepherd, lays down His life for the sheep. And so, “there will be one flock, one Shepherd” (Jn. 10:14-16).

But it’s observation two that causes me to pause and noodle on the imagery used. God’s people are like the jewels of a crown.

God’s people shine in the land as “gemstones . . . catching all the colors of the sun” (MSG). The radiance of God’s glory, Jesus Himself (Heb. 1:3), dispersed through the facets of the precious stones of His crown.

His victor’s crown? Could be. The holy crown of the great High Priest (Lev. 8:9). Could be that too. Whatever the exact nature of the crown, His people are its jewels.

Literally, His people are its “stones.” Hmmm, then are we living stones? I’m thinkin’ . . . So, more than being a spiritual house offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1Pet. 2:4-5), we’re also precious gems, evidence of His crowning achievement. The eternal reflection of the glory of His once for all acceptable sacrifice for sinners.

Like jewels of a crown. Worth chewing on I think.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the hymn that comes to mind, a blast from my past.

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.

He will gather, He will gather
the gems for His kingdom,
all the pure ones, all the bright ones,
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.

Little children, little children
who love their Redeemer,
are the 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.

William Cushing (1856), Public Domain

Not familiar with it. Click here to hear it sung.

The people of God. Covered in red. Precious jewels for His crown.

What wonder. What grace.

To God be the glory.

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