Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God's treasures, the "peculiar" kind

Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people. Exodus 19:5 KJV

Comedienne Rita Rudner said, “I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.” Poodles are mostly shaved, but they have hairy pom-poms on their ankles and tail. We were told our family dog was pure poodle, but she only had wavy, not curly, hair. So we groomed her as a very cute schnauzer.

You’ve probably observed religious practitioners of many denominations who dress distinctively. Mennonite women wear a bonnet signifying their prayer life, and Jewish men wear the yarmulke cap. Devout Latter-day Saint (Mormon) families wear special undergarments, and their outer clothes are always modest. In some charismatic faiths, the women wear no slacks, only dresses, and their hair is never cut. Some communities believe in plain dress, with no buttons or bright color allowed. In some fundamental churches, men’s neckties are required, but women’s necklaces are disallowed. And the difference would be…?

Four hundred years ago, the King James Version of the Bible was translated from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew sources. One Jamesian word, “peculiar,” has been used as a reason for godly people to set themselves apart from the worldly. (“Peculiar” today means strange, weird, eccentric, odd.) “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 KJV; and “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” Exodus 19:5 KJV

The Lord called us His chosen, holy, obedient treasures! Seventeenth-century peculiar meant special and sanctified, and set apart for holy purpose—not the twenty-first century meaning, odd and bizarre. Not dowdy and unattractive. Like living sculptures of precious metal, we are God’s treasures, His jewelry, if you will.

As handiwork, the poema, of the Creator (Ephesians 2:10), our bodies and our spirits should shine, sparkle, glow, and reflect the Lord’s glory as Moses did on Mt. Sinai. Knowing that we are the special, holy treasures of Almighty God gives us reason to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light!”

Our inner and outer beauty adorns our Creator with honor and praise. He created us as spectacular works of art, and we can only reflect His beauty by acting with love, compassion, mercy, and justice. Now that is some gorgeous jewelry!

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