People often have things that they consider to be precious to them. It may be memories of a particular event. It could be an object, for example, a photograph, that reminds them of a particularly enjoyable occasion. It could be a particular friendship that has been longstanding and close. Whatever it is, it is important to them and they consider it precious.
In the natural world, there are minerals that are considered precious—metals like gold, silver and the platinum group of metals. There are also precious gemstones.
A good definition of precious is found in the Cambridge dictionary. It defines precious as: “Of great value because of being rare, expensive, or important.” This definition certainly applies to the above-mentioned listings. A person may find things, events or friendships precious because they are rare or important and the things may possibly be expensive.
Considering metals and gemstones, they are precious because of their importance in industry or commerce on account of their physical features. Some of them are very durable. Gold and silver and some gemstones have been considered precious for thousands of years. They can also be expensive because of their rarity.
It’s obvious that we consider things that are precious to us to be important for various reasons. When we read through the Bible, there are a number of things that are stated as being precious to man—things like precious stones or jewels, precious ointment, precious gold and silver—but there are a number of things that are precious or important to God. They are of much greater importance than physical things that are only temporary. These have a common goal that God considers a highly important part of His plan.
What does God reveal that is really precious to Him? It is not physical objects but more spiritual considerations. Looking at the Hebrew words in this regard, the meaning of precious is basically heavy in value (valuable) or rare. The Greek words for precious have the meaning of costly, valuable, honored, esteemed, beloved.
The first occurrence of precious other than a physical object is in 1 Samuel 3:1 where we find that at that time God’s Word was rare (or precious, as in the Authorised Version and some other versions): “Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare (precious, Authorised Version) in those days; there was no widespread revelation.” We certainly know that God’s Word is valuable and, in those days, it was also very rare.
In Psalm 49:8-9, we find just how precious redemption is. The previous verses reveal that no amount of money can redeem souls: “For the redemption of their souls is costly (precious, Authorised Version), And it shall cease forever—That he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit.” Here, redemption is so important that it leads to eternal life. No amount of money could buy it, as will be seen later.
Further on in the Psalms, we find that God considers the blood, or death, of His saints to be precious. This is revealed in Psalm 72:14: “He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.” And in Psalm 116:15: “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.” This is because when a saint dies, God will resurrect him or her to eternal life as a part of His Family forever. Their future is assured.
Psalm 139:17 informs us of something that should be precious to us, not just to David. It shows that we should think as God thinks: “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!” Regarding God’s thoughts, we read in other passages that God desires all men to be saved, and He thinks good toward His people and not evil.
Proverbs 20:15 reveals that “the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel,” more than “gold and a multitude of rubies.” True knowledge gives us understanding of our future and what we will be.
In Isaiah 28:16 is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, revealing that He is precious: “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.”
In Isaiah 43:3-4, God reveals that He considers His people of Israel to be precious: “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you; Therefore I will give men for you, And people for your life.”
In the New Testament, further things are mentioned as being precious to God. In 1 Peter 1:7, the genuineness of our faith is much more precious than gold that perishes. In 1 Peter 1:19, the blood of Jesus Christ is also considered precious.
In 1 Peter 2:4-7, Isaiah 28:16 is expanded upon. The Messiah is again called the chief cornerstone and precious upon whom we are built up as a holy priesthood.
2 Peter 1:1 shows that God’s people have obtained the precious faith by the righteousness of Jesus Christ—not by anything we have earned by our own efforts. And the last mention of what God considers precious is in 2 Peter 1:4, telling us that we have received “exceedingly great and precious promises” that we can partake of the divine nature; basically, that we become God and have His nature.
So, what can we conclude from these passages? Even though God made precious physical things for man, which things are temporary, He considers those things much more precious which are leading to our eternal life. His Word, our redemption, the resurrection after our death, what God thinks about us and His intentions for us, the Messiah of course, genuine faith, the costly blood of Jesus Christ which alone makes our redemption possible, and the precious faith which can only come through the righteousness of Jesus Christ—all these result in the promise of us being born as a part of the Family of God.
All these precious things have the aim of increasing the number of Spirit beings in His Family which is His overall purpose. This is why Peter used his strongest expression “exceedingly great and precious promises.” Nothing in this physical world can compare with that.