“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
then goes off and boasts about the purchase.
The savvy shopper does not reveal how much he truly values the object he wants. He is critical of the object. He points out its flaws. He doesn’t need it and certainly can’t afford what is being asked. All the while he inwardly prizes it. When he does acquire the object, he then may boast of its value. This is how we normally conduct business. We look for a “good deal.” We try to get the best bargain we can.
But then there is that rare object whose value is so clear that one would be ashamed to bargain for it. Indeed, the buyer is only too ready to pay full cost. So it is with the gospel, the pearl for which the knowing buyer eagerly gives all that he possesses. Such a pearl the “savvy” buyer cannot buy. It is not available to bargain hunters, even though it is the greatest of all bargains. Even when we give away all that we possess, its value is such that we grow only the richer for possessing it.
The gospel is not an object to haggle over. God cannot be bartered with and certainly not over the matter of the value of his Son’s atoning death. He offers the gospel, but not for bartering. He offers it free, but will only give to those who recognize its costliness. And those who obtain it boast only in the Lord’s great mercy to them who do not deserve such a gift.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.