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Words: Frances Jane (“Fanny”) Crosby (b. Mar. 24, 1820; Feb. 12, 1915)
Music: John Robson Sweney (b. Dec. 31, 1837; d. Apr. 10, 1899)
Note: This song was published in 1882. The Wordwise Hymns link tells a bit about Fanny’s conversion, and of how she got started writing hymns.
The mining industry is big business in Canada. Some 380,000 people, working for 3,400 different companies add over $50 billion a year to our Gross National Product. We are among the top five countries in the world producing such things as: potash, uranium, cobalt, aluminum, tungsten, platinum, sulphur, nickel, and diamonds.
Mining is described in the Bible as well, in the book of Job. Various clues place the events of the book back around the time of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who lived about four thousand years ago. In the book, Job describes miners, hanging perilously from ropes, down deep shafts, as they seek the mineral riches of the earth. He says:
“Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. Man puts an end to darkness, and searches every recess for ore in the darkness and the shadow of death. He breaks open a shaft away from people; in places forgotten by feet they hang far away from men; they swing to and fro” (Job 28:1-4).
All of that to garner the treasures hidden below. But compare spiritual riches. For enriching our spiritual lives, the Bible is a treasure greater than any precious mineral found in the earth. The psalmist says, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver” (Ps. 119:72). “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold” (Ps. 19:9-10).
Why is the Bible so precious? Whole volumes have been written on that subject. But here are a few things to consider.
It is a message from the infinite and eternal God. It certainly claims to be–thousands of times. And when it is examined with an open mind, and tested, it also proves to be. Further, since He is “a God of truth” (Deut 32:4), His Word is unfailingly reliable. And the Word is enduring. While the pronouncements of men are changeable, and often untrustworthy, of God it is said, “Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever” (Ps. 119:152).
When we are sick, we need an expert opinion as to what’s wrong, and what can be done about it. It’s the same in the spiritual realm. Since the Bible is a true message from our Creator, we can be sure to find there an accurate diagnosis of our need. The Bible says all are sinners (Rom. 3:23), and that sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). Not only physical death, but eternal condemnation, and separation from God, which Scripture calls “the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
But the Word of God also offers the effective prescription to meet our desperate need. God the Son came to this earth, and took on our humanity, so that He could take our place under the wrath of God. Now, all who put their trust in Him can be cleansed and forgiven, and receive the gift of eternal life (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 1:7). Through Christ, we can not only live meaningful and fulfilling lives, but look forward to the hope of heaven.
That means that, beyond all else, the Bible is a treasure precisely because it reveals the Lord Jesus Christ to us, our wonderful Saviour. The written Word reveals the living Word (cf. Jn. 1:1, 14). Whatever other riches we find in the pages of God’s Word, He Himself is, beyond imagining, the greatest Treasure of all.
Hymn writer Fanny Crosby thought so, and she published a song exalting the infinite spiritual riches found in and through Christ.
CH-1) O the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Wealth that can never be told!
Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace,
Precious, more precious than gold!
Precious, more precious,
Wealth that can never be told!
Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Precious, more precious than gold.
CH-3) O the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Freely, how freely they flow,
Making the souls of the faithful and true
Happy wherever they go!
CH-4) O the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Who would not gladly endure
Trials, afflictions, and crosses on earth,
Riches like these to secure!
1) What is the greatest “treasure” you have in Christ?
2) What is the greatest treasure you find in God’s Word, other than Christ?