That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth - That our sons - not called forth to the hardships of the tent and the field, the perils and the exposures of war - may grow up under the culture of home, of the family, in quiet scenes, as plants carefully cultivated and flourishing. Compare Psalm 128:3. The Hebrew here is, “grown large in their youth;” not “grown up,” which has a paradoxical appearance. The meaning is, that they may be stout, strong, vigorous, well-formed, even in early life; that they may not be stunted in their growth, but be of full and manly proportions.
That our daughters may be as cornerstones - The word used here - זויות zâvı̂yôth - occurs only in the plural form, and means properly “corners” - from a verb meaning to hide away, to conceal. The word is used respecting the corners of an altar, Zechariah 9:15; and seems here to refer to the corner columns of a palace or temple: perhaps, as Gesenius (Lexicon) supposes, in allusion to the columns representing female figures so common in Egyptian architecture.
Polished - Margin, “cut.” The idea is not that of “polishing” or “smoothing,” but of cutting or sculpturing. It is the stone carefully cut as an ornament.
After the similitude of a palace - A more literal translation would be, “The likeness or model of a temple;” or, for the building of a temple. That is, that they may be such as may be properly compared with the ornamental columns of a temple or palace. The comparison is a very beautiful one, having the idea of grace, symmetry, fair proportions: that on which the skill of the sculptor is most abundantly lavished.
12. God Spends Time on Jewels—We are God's workmanship. The value of the human agent depends wholly upon the polishing he receives. When the rough stones are prepared for the building, they must be taken into the shop, and hewed and squared. The process is often sharp as the stone is pressed down upon the wheel, but the rough coarseness is being removed, and the lustre begins to appear. The Lord spends not His time upon worthless material; only His jewels are polished after the similitude of a palace. Every soul must not only submit to this work of the divine hand, but must put to the tax every spiritual sinew and muscle, that the character may become more pure, the words more helpful, the actions such as God can approve (Letter 27, 1896). 3BC 1154.1
The divine Worker spends little time on worthless material. Only the precious jewels does He polish after the similitude of a palace, cutting away the rough edges. The process is severe and trying; Christ cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing wheel, presses it close, that all roughness may be worn off. Then, holding the jewel up to the light, the Master sees in it a reflection of Himself, and He pronounces it worthy of a place in His casket. 3BC 1154.2
Blessed be the experience, however severe, that gives new value to the stone, causing it to shine with living brightness (Letter 69, 1903). 3BC 1154.3
A Painful but Necessary Process—By the mighty cleaver of truth God has brought His people, as rough stones, from the quarry of the world. These stones must be squared and polished. The rough edges must be removed. This is a painful process; but it is a necessary one. Without it, we could not be prepared for a place in God's temple. By trial, by warnings, by admonitions, God seeks to prepare us to fulfill His purpose. If we cooperate with Him, our characters will be fashioned “after the similitude of a palace.” It is the specified work of the Comforter to transform us. At times it is hard for us to submit to the purifying, refining process. But this we must do if we would be saved at last (Letter 139, 1903). 3BC 1154.4
Children May Be Polished for God—Patiently, lovingly, as faithful stewards of the manifold grace of God, parents are to do their appointed work. It is expected of them that they will be found faithful. Everything is to be done in faith. Constantly they must pray that God will impart His grace to their children. Never must they become weary, impatient, or fretful in their work. They must cling closely to their children and to God. 3BC 1154.5
If parents work in patience and love, earnestly endeavoring to help their children to reach the highest standard of purity and modesty, they will succeed. In this work parents need to manifest patience and faith, that they may present their children to God, polished after the similitude of a palace (NL No. 28, p. 3). 3BC 1154.6
(1 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:11-13.) Some Are Not What They Appear—Many, from worldly policy, endeavor, by their own efforts, to become as polished stones, but cannot be living stones, because they are not built upon the true foundation. The day of God will reveal that they are, in reality, only hay, wood, and stubble (Redemption: or the Teachings of Paul, and his Mission to the Gentiles, 78). 3BC 1154.7Read in context »
In the children committed to her care, every mother has a sacred charge from God. “Take this son, this daughter,” He says; “train it for Me; give it a character polished after the similitude of a palace, that it may shine in the courts of the Lord forever.” MH 376.1
The mother's work often seems to her an unimportant service. It is a work that is rarely appreciated. Others know little of her many cares and burdens. Her days are occupied with a round of little duties, all calling for patient effort, for self-control, for tact, wisdom, and self-sacrificing love; yet she cannot boast of what she has done as any great achievement. She has only kept things in the home running smoothly; often weary and perplexed, she has tried to speak kindly to the children, to keep them busy and happy, and to guide the little feet in the right path. She feels that she has accomplished nothing. But it is not so. Heavenly angels watch the care-worn mother, noting the burdens she carries day by day. Her name may not have been heard in the world, but it is written in the Lamb's book of life. MH 376.2Read in context »
That education alone which brings the student into close relation with the Great Teacher is true education. The youth are to be taught to look to Christ as their guide. They are to be taught lessons of forbearance and trust, of true goodness and kindness of heart, of perseverance and steadfastness. Their characters are to answer to the words of David: “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” Psalm 144:12. CT 496.1
The converted student has broken the chain which bound him to the service of sin, and has placed himself in right relation to God. His name is enrolled in the Lamb's book of life. He is under solemn obligation to renounce evil and come under the jurisdiction of heaven. Through earnest prayer he is to cleave to Christ. To neglect this devotion, to refuse this service, is to become the sport of Satan's wiles. CT 496.2
While cultivating the mind the student should also cultivate uprightness of heart and loyalty to God, that he may develop a character like that of Joseph. Then he will scorn the thought of yielding to temptation, fearing to sully his purity. Like Daniel, he will resolve to be true to principle and to make the very best use of the powers with which God has endowed him. CT 496.3Read in context »
To lead them to Jesus is not all that is required.... These children are to be educated and trained to become disciples of Christ, “that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” This work of molding, refining, and polishing is the mother's. The character of the child is to be developed. The mother must engrave upon the tablet of the heart lessons as enduring as eternity; and she will surely meet the displeasure of the Lord if she neglects this sacred work or allows anything to interfere with it.... The Christian mother has her God-appointed work, which she will not neglect if she is closely connected with God and imbued with His Spirit.10 AH 234.1
Her Grand and Noble Commission—There are opportunities of inestimable worth, interests infinitely precious, committed to every mother. The humble round of duties which women have come to regard as a wearisome task should be looked upon as a grand and noble work. It is the mother's privilege to bless the world by her influence, and in doing this she will bring joy to her own heart. She may make straight paths for the feet of her children through sunshine and shadow to the glorious heights above. But it is only when she seeks, in her own life, to follow the teachings of Christ that the mother can hope to form the character of her children after the divine pattern.11 AH 234.2
Amid all the activities of life the mother's most sacred duty is to her children. But how often is this duty put aside that some selfish gratification may be followed! Parents are entrusted with the present and eternal interests of their children. They are to hold the reins of government and guide their households to the honor of God. God's law should be their standard, and love should rule in all things.12 AH 234.3Read in context »
Such mourning “shall be comforted.” God reveals to us our guilt that we may flee to Christ, and through Him be set free from the bondage of sin, and rejoice in the liberty of the sons of God. In true contrition we may come to the foot of the cross, and there leave our burdens. MB 10.1
The Saviour's words have a message of comfort to those also who are suffering affliction or bereavement. Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33. When He permits trials and afflictions, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him! MB 10.2
The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace. MB 10.3Read in context »
The divine Worker spends little time on worthless material. Only the precious jewels does He polish after the similitude of a palace. With hammer and chisel He cuts away the rough edges, preparing us for a place in God's temple. The process is severe and trying. It hurts human pride. Christ cuts deep into the experience that man in his self-sufficiency regarded as complete, and takes away self-uplifting from the character. He cuts away the surplus surface, and putting the stone to the polishing wheel, presses it close, that all roughness may be worn off. Then holding the jewel up to the light the Master sees in it a reflection of His own image, and it is pronounced worthy of a place in His temple. UL 372.4Read in context »