JENNIFER KENNEDY DEAN 1953-2019
We grieve the passing of well-loved author and speaker Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Her many books became classics as soon as they were published. Her passion for the Word, for prayer, for her family and friends, and her impact on the Kingdom will live on.
“THEN THOSE WHO FEARED THE LORD TALKED WITH EACH OTHER, AND THE LORD LISTENED AND HEARD.
A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. ‘On the day when I act,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘they will be my treasured possession’” (Malachi 3:17, NIV).
The historical context of this Scripture is as follows: God is speaking of the remnant of His people who were faithful to Him in the midst of a society that had largely ignored or marginalized His law.
The words of Scripture have a true and historical context, but they are eternal. The Scripture itself shows us how we can hear and understand truths spoken at a moment in time to translate into our present moment. Peter writes:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).
“Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14, NIV).
In our focal passage, “my treasured possession” refers to the king’s private collection, his personal acquisition. Everything in the treasury was considered the king’s property, but he would have had some objects he chose for his own particular property.
In 1 Peter, the word translated “God’s special possession” means “something acquired or purchased.” The same word is used in Titus. It has the same sense as “treasured possession.”
You are God’s treasure.
He was willing to pay top price for you. His own life, laid down by His own choice, in unfathomable suffering and agony was not too high a price to pay.
It is said that something is valued by the price someone is willing to pay for it. We are Jesus’ most valuable purchase. He didn’t even haggle or try to get the price down. He paid what we cost.
He left heaven for earth for one purpose — to redeem us, to purchase us out of slavery. If we are going to set our value by what someone is willing to pay for us, then we are the world’s most precious, most beloved, most adored.
What does it mean to treasure something? It certainly means something beyond to possess or own. I have things I like, and I have things I value, but then I have another category altogether: I have things I treasure.
The things I treasure out of all my other possessions are one of a kind.
I treasure something because either someone made it for me and it speaks to me of their love; or it was handmade by an artist, and it is not mass-produced. We are each one of a kind. Handmade. Carefully designed. Irreplaceable. Not interchangeable. A work of art.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV).
“Your hands shaped me and made me … Remember that you molded me like clay … Did you not … clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit” (Job 10:8-12, NIV).
These passages paint the picture that the Creator took great care and attention to detail in weaving us together. We are an expression of the Artist. We show His skill to great effect. He is proud of us.
Everything about us is designed and shaped by God’s hand. Our personality type. Our drives and ambitions. Our talents and gifts. Our challenges. Our appearance. The setting into which we were born. The circumstances of our present experience. We are carefully crafted. Treasured.
Do you know what I do with things I treasure? I display them.
I place them where I can show them to others. I love for people to notice them so I can tell them the story of my treasures. Jesus is proud of us. We are His treasure. He positions us so our lives display Him.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3, NIV).
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:6-10, NIV).
Jesus is displaying Himself through us. When He lives His life in us, and then through us, Jesus is who people are seeing. When Jesus uses me to express Himself in my world, I think of my life as Jesus in His Jennifer edition.
When we embrace how Jesus treasures us, we are free to love others. We won’t have to try to prove our worth or to get our sense of value from others. We can just love them.
Jesus, You treasure me. I’m all battle-scarred and broken and scuffed up. It hardly seems plausible that I’m Your treasure, but I release my heart fully
to that truth right now. Would You work it deep into my understanding how precious I am to You?
How do you respond to Jesus right now? What are your true feelings about being treasured? Tell Him.