The Intrinsic Value of the Peculiar Treasure
And so the value that the Lord has here, as you see quite clearly, is in just a very few, comparatively. It is a "day of small things"; it is a comparatively small company about which the Lord says, 'My peculiar treasure.' The value is intrinsic. It is there that the Lord finds what His heart desires, and that which, I believe, leads us to the far greater thing. It is not that the Lord's thought ends there in smallness because the Old Testament ends with this day of small things, this little company fearing the Lord; but that is the link between the end of the old dispensation and the beginning of the new - the coming of the Lord Jesus and all that followed. For, in the four hundred years between the Testaments, there was still that little company holding to the Lord' full thought. When you open the New Testament, and begin the record as given by Luke, there you find that link - the little representative handful. Here is Anna, here is Simeon - here in Jerusalem is a company who wait for the promise, for the Messiah, looking for that day. They are linked with those who "feared the Lord." Ah, but this is something that, though outwardly small, has become so intrinsically great, making a way for the Lord to come.
No, it does not end there, but the challenge lies there. How mistaken we are when we measure things by their bigness, by their numbers. That is the way the world does it. And that is where the world has come into the Church - measuring things by numbers, size, extent, what you can see, how you can appraise from natural standpoints. 'Oh, that must be something for God! Look what a big thing it is!' Not necessarily. It has often been that the greatest thing of God has been very small in the eyes of man.
We return for a moment, in closing, to the long list of names in Nehemiah 11. I expect when you have read the Book of Nehemiah you have skipped this - those names, those terrible, unpronounceable names! You have said, 'Oh, let us get on to something more interesting than this!' And yet perhaps this is one of the most interesting things in the whole book. The Lord has taken note of each individual who offered himself in this way, and has marked him down by name and put him in the book; and he is not only here in this book, the Bible, and there mentioned by name for all successive generations to recognize, to identify, but he is in the other book in Heaven for all eternity. That is no small thing: to have your name down not only in the Lamb's Book of Life as one born from above, a citizen of Heaven, but in the Lord's "book of remembrance" as one who has 'followed the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,' as one of a tabulated company, yes, out of all the saved, all the redeemed - this kind of firstfruits unto God.
Need we say more? What is the appeal of these messages? That is the point at which we arrive. I trust it means comfort to you. We want all the comfort that we can get, but we know something of the cost. How many times recently have people said to me, 'When are you going to retire? So-and-so has retired and So-and-so is retiring -' yes, ministers of the Gospel. There is no discharge in this warfare, no day for retiring, brothers and sisters. I am sorry for you! You are not going to be pensioned off down here and spend the rest of your life vegetating. You have to go on to the last breath, with battle and cost to the end. There is a cost bound up with the full purpose of God, and in many ways we know it.
But oh, the answer! The Lord is taking note; He is putting it down, and He is saying: 'That tithe, that freewill offering people, shall be My peculiar treasure in that day that I do make.' I do not know how that is going to work out, what it is going to mean. Of course, it is a picture statement: that in a great house there is something, among all the possessions and all the ornaments, something that is peculiarly precious to the owner, and whenever his friends come he is always showing them that. 'Have you seen this? This is most valuable. I hold it more dear than anything else i have got; indeed it is more to me than all the rest put together - a peculiar treasure.'
That is behind this. How it is going to work out I do not know, but that is what it means. Those who go this way, those who will pay this price, those who will accept the consequences, those who will be after this kind - a freewill offering to the Lord for everything that He desires and His heart is set upon - will be in His House like that. He will be drawing attention to them and saying, 'Look here, have you seen these? There are peculiarly precious to Me. They followed the Lamb whithersoever He went.'
The Lord make us like that!