Imagine a vast throne room. Seated on the throne is a great king. He’s surrounded by all manner of attendants, each on their best behavior. Now imagine a box that sits at the king’s feet. From time to time the king reaches down and runs his hands through the contents. And what’s in the box? Jewels, gold, and gemstones particular to the king’s tastes. This box holds the king’s treasures, a collection that brings him great joy. Can you see that image in your mind’s eye?
The Hebrew word for this treasure is segulah, and it means “special possession.” That word is found in such Old Testament Scriptures as Exodus 19:1-5, Deuteronomy 7:6, and Psalm 135:4, where it refers to the nation of Israel. But that same word picture shows up in the New Testament by way of the pen of Peter the apostle. He’s describing the “people of God,” those who “have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10), a collection now beyond the nation of Israel. In other words, he’s talking about those who believe in Jesus, both Jew and gentile. And he writes “But you are . . . God’s special possession” (v. 9).
Imagine that! The great and powerful King of heaven considers you among His special treasures. He has rescued you from the grip of sin and death. He claims you as His own. The King’s voice says, “This one I love. This one is mine.”
Can you recall a time when someone genuinely called you “special”? What effect did it have on you? What does it mean for you to know that you’re precious to God?
When Peter speaks of Jesus and His disciples as being like living stones (1 Peter 2:4–6), he draws on words from the prophet Isaiah and Psalm 118. Using the language of a builder, Isaiah foresees a cornerstone God will lay in Jerusalem as a safe foundation for all who build on it (28:16). Psalm 118 praises the day when this cornerstone will be laid, describing it as a stone human builders rejected before God used it to show that His faithful love endures forever (vv. 22–24, 29). Peter is joined by the apostle Paul, who also refers to Jesus as the cornerstone of a temple made of the treasured lives of God’s own people (Ephesians 2:19–22). Together, these Old and New Testament texts give us a picture of a temple that comes alive in the people of God as they’re filled with the Spirit of Christ.