The closest I ever came to finding buried treasure was the time I accidentally dug up an old plastic bucket at the beach. And it was broken. When the man in the parable stumbled across something buried in the field it was infinitely more valuable. Worth giving up everything else he owned in order to purchase. What could be that amazing?
The kernel of hope sowed in the moment that Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Eden grew slowly but steadily through Israel’s history. In Isaiah that promise of restoration begins to blossom, as we read:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
This promise pointed forward to a time just out of reach for the people of Isaiah’s day. They faced imminent exile; banishment to a foreign land as punishment for their consistent covenant breaking and idolatry. Some would return eventually, but find little more than a ruined city and antagonistic squatters.
But if anything that made this promise shine even more brightly. One day something incredible would happen and a new light would dawn over their shattered nation. On day God would restore them to a place of honor and privilege. One day he would make everything right. One day he would turn back the clock to the way things were always meant to be. “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion…and everlasting joy will be yours.”
Sadly, however, this dream lay buried for hundreds of years. And nothing happened. Until one day Jesus walked into a synagogue in Nazareth. And standing up, he read this very passage of Scripture, announcing, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
The kingdom was coming. The promises were about to come true. The kernel of hope, left buried for centuries, was finally pushing its way through the soil and getting ready to blossom into full-blown redemption.
The Kingdom of Heaven is the fulfillment of promises stretching back to the Creation of the world. It’s the dawning of an entirely new era of God’s working in history. It’s the moment when everything changed and time itself started speeding towards completion. That’s a treasure worth sacrificing everything to be a part of. Who would want to sit on the sidelines and let that train go rolling by?
The truly astonishing thing to me is that God invites us to be a part of the work He is doing to expand His Kingdom. We don’t deserve it, most of us probably feel like we stumbled into it by accident, but the Kingdom is growing and our Heavenly Father is looking for workers. What are you waiting for?