“…If you take out the precious from the vile…” Jeremiah 15:19b
Find the Precious
I used to love to watch the old movie “Pollyanna” starring Hayley Mills. She was such a good role model for young girls in the early 1960’s. The premise of Pollyanna’s life was that she found the good in everything. I was somewhat cranky as a kid, and my mother surely hoped that Pollyanna would help me to see that there is good all around us, if we will open our eyes and heart to it.
I was reminded of Pollyanna when I came across the verse above. In the Jeremiah context, God is telling Jeremiah to take the precious out of the vile, meaning, “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Ezekiel 44:23). There is to be a separation, a distinction, between God’s people and everyone else.
But there are plenty of other Scriptures that tell us that sometimes there are good things to be found in bad things, and perhaps this is partly what God was saying to Jeremiah. Yes, Jeremiah, life is vile right now, life is hard and about to get harder—but there are precious things hidden in it. Holy lessons can be learned from ugly circumstances. Holy people can be found in unlikely places. Holy thoughts can come in the midst of sorrows or trials.
Babies are born out of the pain of childbirth. Flowers and rainbows follow rain. Transformation comes through trial. Plants grow in plowed-up dirt. Fruit is borne after pruning. These are precious things in the midst of the vile—things that give us the hope to endure.
We all can testify to how we felt God’s presence while we were suffering. We knew His compassion when we were hurting, His comfort when we grieved, His love when we were rejected, His rest when we were worn out. These are precious things in the midst of the vile.
What does God say about the hard things of life? Keep Your eyes on things above. Think on good and right things. Do not fear what man can do. I will reward you. I am with You. I’m thinking about you, watching you, caring for you. I will provide. There is a place waiting for you. Come to Me. Look at things above. These are precious words to meditate on in the midst of our difficulties.
Some good things are hidden for the time being. But “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known”(Matthew 10:26). Ask God to show you the precious among the vile. He might open your eyes now, or it might be later, but there is always good to come from it. Be encouraged.
And remember: a bee can find nectar in a weed as well as in a flower.
“Father, give us eyes to see what is precious in Your sight, even though all around us things look bleak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”