I parboil and cook a lot of brown rice, and in transferring the rice from pan to sieve and back to pan, a few grains inevitably fall. Not many, but a few, maybe only two or three. Nothing wrong with them, but once they fall into the sink, their fate is fixed. Who stops to retrieve a grain or two of rice?
Yet it is a precious reminder—of what God through His prophet Amos said of His people. Not one grain—not even the very least—will ever be lost.
Each grain is precious!
What says Amos?
Amos 9:9 9“For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.
Apparently in process of harvesting grain, the ripened grain was shaken in a sieve in such a way that while the chaff and dust fell through the sieve, the solid kernels would remain. In the same way, said the prophet, Israel’s safety in God’s care was ensured.
They might be shaken and tossed, yet not a single good grain would be lost.
This promise could be taken as a parable of the righteous and the wicked, the very situation Amos was addressing as a prophet. While the chaff and dust (the wicked) would fall through (perish), every single solid grain (the godly) would remain (be preserved).
Each one precious!
What did Paul say about Israel?
Romans 11:26 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
Just a note here: Does God turn away the ungodliness in His people, or does He expect us to do it? The proper wording may have been lost in translation, because Paul is quoting the prophet Isaiah, where it is said correctly:
Isaiah 59:19–20 19So shall they fear The name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. 20“The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the Lord.
Christ the Redeemer is coming to “those who turn from transgression in Jacob.” Not that God does it for them, but they of Jacob (Israel) themselves “turn from transgression.”
Returning to Paul in Romans 11:26, we find the result of this turning from transgression:
Romans 11:26 26And so all Israel will be saved/
They will be “saved”–this shows it is the true Israel, the Israelites indeed, not the natural nation of Israel but the faithful one, the chosen people of God. This is why Jeremiah pleaded with his people:
Jeremiah 3:14 14“Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city [the smaller unit] and two from a family [tribe, clan], and I will bring you to Zion.
God would be faithful if only THEY would be! In this way Israel’s final safety would be secured.
Think about this: The night of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, He was praying in behalf of Peter. Even though imperfect at that point, Peter was one of those precious grains not to be lost. What did Jesus say to Peter, even when He knew Peter was going to fail that very night?
Luke 22:32 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me [when you are converted], strengthen your brethren.”
When you get back on your feet, Peter, you can help your brethren.
In John chapter 10, Jesus gave strong reassurance about the worth and security of each believer:
John 10:28 28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
Safety and security together!
There is yet another text that shows the extent of that security, and the future of it:
John 6:39 39This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
He would lose nothing. Not a single grain would be lost.
Now let’s think about the other side. How does God regard those outside His plan? Read it from the prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:15 15Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
A drop in a bucket; dust on the scales. Islands a very little thing!
Do we get it?
Do we struggle with feeling unnoticed, unappreciated, insignificant, of little worth? That is where we are if we are on our own in this world. But if we join God’s cause and seek to become HIS, what a contrast!
What does God say about His own?
Malachi 3:16–17 16Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. 17“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
How are the saints counted for value in the Revelator’s vision of the Holy City, the city that represents the bride of Christ? Look it up in Revelation chapter 21, and be encouraged. There is no value in this world to compare.
Several pictures are here:
1- a city foursquare – perfection itself
2- a city with walls of jasper and streets of gold
3- a city with all kinds of precious stones in the foundation of the wall.
What does this world have to compare? A fleeting shadow, a fading flower, a passing vapor? James says it well:
James 4:14 14whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
Isaiah 40:6–8 6The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8The grass withers, the flower fades, But… the word of our God stands forever.”
Here again is the contrast. What remains? What stands?
8The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
Do we want real WORTH? Lasting VALUE? Where we will never be lost, never fall, never be threatened by worthlessness?
There is only one place to look: to God. What greater promise could we have than being invited into His family—and all for cutting our ties with this world and joining His. Paul’s reasoning is strong. Let us read it from the New Jerusalem Bible:
2 Corinthians 6:14–16 (NJB) 14Do not harness yourselves in an uneven team with unbelievers; how can uprightness and law-breaking be partners, or what can light and darkness have in common? 15How can Christ come to an agreement with Belial and what sharing can there be between a believer and an unbeliever? 16The temple of God cannot compromise with false gods, and that is what we are—the temple of the living God. We have God’s word for it: I shall fix my home among them and live among them; I will be their God and they will be my people.
There is solid promise. What is the price?
2 Corinthians 6:17–18 (NJB) 17Get away from them, purify yourselves, says the Lord. Do not touch anything unclean, and then I shall welcome you. 18I shall be father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the almighty Lord.
Here is real worth—every one PRECIOUS. Every one a son or daughter of God Almighty! When HE shares His wealth with the family, we won’t even be able to measure it. The poem says it:
My Father is rich in houses and lands,
He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!
Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,
His coffers are full, He has riches untold.
I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
If keeping God’s precepts,
I’m a child of the King.