Ernest Robinson - The Diamond Mine - [2005]

Subject: FW: The Diamond Mine- Ernest Robinson
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2005 18:11:28 +0800 [note: not sure if this is the date of the sermon or of the email - TA]

Malachi 3:17

And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.


During my last home visit to South Africa, I visited a diamond mine and was amazed at how much it’s like what God is doing, looking for jewels. Hard, blue rock is brought out of the depths of the earth, then crushed to gravel. Even experts can’t tell where the diamonds are in the tons of crushed rock. In order to identify the diamonds, they use the most interesting property of a diamond: it can’t get wet. They place the gravel on long conveyor belts and keep washing water over it. The gravel gets soaked; but at the end of the belt, there’s a plate at an angle covered with special grease that all the gravel passes over while the diamonds stick. Often in Korea, people mock us because we don’t advertise to attract people. God has devised the most accurate, effective method of finding jewels in the world; nothing can even come near it. In the last chapter of I Kings, you read of Ahab going to battle disguised, and giving another his garments. A man pulled a bow “at a venture”; and God, who had decided that Ahab’s last day had come, took over that arrow and directed it. Can you think of anything more deadly? There was absolutely no chance for a miss. That’s how the gospel works. That’s how Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch were found. You could all perhaps tell of experiences similar to one I had in Taejon, Korea. I’d met a young student who attended gospel meetings long enough that she knew this was the truth: but she wasn’t willing. She went later to Seoul to the university. One day she was sitting in a tea room, talking with friends about religion and saying that she knew about God’s true way and was hoping somehow to contact these people again. That day, I was in Seoul going to the post office, as I did every day when I was there; but after I got on the bus, I realized it was the wrong bus. And I thought, “Well, am I going out of my mind? I’ve been doing this every day, and there’s no reason I’d get on this bus.” I mean, normally I could almost do it with my eyes closed. I decided to ride on, then, get off where the route was nearest the P.O. and just walk. As I got off the bus at that stop, I bumped into this girl as she came out of the restaurant. Now, in a city of 10 million people, just that day, without any good reason at all, I had to get on that bus. That girl is rejoicing in truth today. In eternity, sitting around the Lord’s Table, there will be many, many wonderful stories to tell and lots of time to hear them. It’s going to be interesting; but it’s all going to amount to the same thing: God arranges for honest souls to come in contact with His way. What about Communist countries, where it’s impossible for God’s servants to go? Remember the story of Ruth? She lived in a country virtually cursed by God; but the eyes of God run to and fro, and His eyes settled on one young woman, Ruth. There’s a diamond. Remember the parable about the lost coin? The woman lit the lamp, but the light didn’t reach the coin, so she got a broom. That’s what God did with Ruth. God has a broom, and it has a long handle. It can reach any dark corner of the earth. He swept her out of Moab, brought her where the light was. In Angola, West Africa some workers studied Portuguese, hoping to go there with the gospel; it’s never been possible. But God saw diamonds there, got out that broom with the long handle, allowed a famine in that country and a lot of people had to move south to Namibia. Shortly after, workers went, and you’d be surprised how many of those people responded. A lot are passed away, some are still there. I know nearly all of them—wonderful, wonderful people! Exactly the same thing happened in Korea. The Iron Curtain is cruel, separates thousands of people from their families. Before the Curtain fell, thousands and thousands came down from No. Korea. And it’s surprising how many of them have accepted the gospel. And how many are now in the work. Watching this process of sorting diamonds, I noted the tremendous pressure crushing the rock and asked the guide if it wouldn’t be too bad for a diamond to get crushed with the gravel. He smiled and said. “Don’t you worry; the diamond never gets crushed.” It’s simply separated from the rock that’s holding it. In 1969, I spent a week in Hiroshima, that city devastated by the atom bomb in 1945. I met a young lady exactly my age. She was 10 when that bomb fell, and you can’t imagine the indescribable human suffering, or what the city looked like...hardly a home without someone or everyone dead...no food...nothing but terrible agony and misery. Many people committed suicide; some went out of their minds into despair; and those who didn’t were filled with bitterness. They didn’t understand what was happening. They were bitter against the cruel Americans. But this girl was different; she thought of all the people going about their business until everything was destroyed. She thought to herself, “Is this all people are living for? Something that can be destroyed in a moment like this?” She also thought that even if there were never another bomb dropped but at the end of life this is all we have, what is it? Then the gospel came, she responded; and through her, her mother and sister professed. There may be some painful, shattering experiences; but if it’s a diamond, it won’t be crushed, go to pieces. If it’s a diamond, it will only be set free! Like that girl...her ambitions, thoughts, hope for her future was no longer centered just on things of time...she was set free, enabled to lift up her eyes. Even experts can’t tell a diamond. Surprising, isn’t it? God’s servants are like that; we just don’t have the eyes to tell. We’ve seen fine-looking folks we’re just sure must be diamonds come to meetings; others come that look like nothing, and we hardly bother to greet them. And this is the one that surprises us. Even that wonderful servant of God, Samuel, couldn’t tell a diamond. When sent to anoint the king from among the sons of Jesse, he saw the eldest, so fine-looking, and was sure this must be he. God told him he was looking on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. God had to show him which son it was; I’m glad, and all God’s servants are. We must try to help everyone, everyone we meet; we don’t know where the diamond is. The diamond can be found because it can’t get wet. A young lady I knew in our country, Petal, was exceptionally beautiful. She loved dancing; and I suppose when she went to a dance in the evening with a beautiful dress on, she looked like a movie star. She was never without a lot of young men just waiting to dance with her; and, of course, some of the other young ladies were jealous. But the other side of this was told us by her mother. Every single time her daughter came home from a dance, she’d fling herself onto the bed without even taking off her dress and cry and cry and cry. “Mother, is this all there is to live for? For a while it was interesting; but if there’s nothing more to life than this, I’d rather die.” We sometimes sing, “The waters of this world have failed...” Diamonds don’t get saturated with what soaks the gravel around them. Did you ever wonder—some of you here who are still not in the family of God—when you’re out trying to have a good time, laughing and joking with everyone...did you ever wonder, “Is there something psychologically wrong with me? Am I mentally disturbed? Emotionally unbalanced? Everyone can have a good time. Why can’t I? Why do I always feel lonely? Even in a crowd, like something’s wrong? What’s wrong with me?” No, you’re not unbalanced. You’re a diamond; thank God for it. That greased plate at the end of the conveyor belt is like the gospel. We can’t tell, but the gospel surely sorts people out. It’s amazing. We go through a lot of prospects; people come once, twice, a week, a month, then pull away. But if there’s a diamond, it will stick. We don’t always have a good time speaking in a meeting; sometimes it’s just like chewing the brick. It seems your words are falling to the ground; and later, when you go past the building, you can hardly look at it, you feel so ashamed. But true diamonds come again to listen, because it’s the Spirit of God drawing...the only thing that can draw a true soul. Every now and then the machinery is stopped and the plate scraped to see if there’s a diamond, like testing a meeting. It’s surprising to learn that volumes of precious stones go down with the gravel to be thrown on the dump—rubies, emeralds, sapphires. But it’s so hard to identify and separate them; and for now, all they’re interested in is diamonds. Many in this world are gems...there seems to be more in them than there is in me. They’re gems, but not diamonds. The rich young ruler came to Jesus. Now if you know what keeping the law from your youth up meant in the Old Testament, it was no small thing he’d done. In fact, the Lord loved him...no doubt about it, he was a gem; but he was not a diamond. The conditions of the New Testament ministry crushed him. After seeing all this, we were taken to a heavily guarded room where we saw; all the diamonds found in that mine the previous day—a little in the bottom of a saucer! That was a whole factory of belts, not just one, all running back and forth; and I sympathized with the man that they’d had a bad day. No, he smiled, that was average. Someone asked if, with the wages of all the people, the tremendous cost of operation of all that machinery, it even paid. Again a smile and we were told that if one knew the value of those diamonds, he would never ask that. Some people think workers’ lives are pathetic; sometimes they go several years without seeing anyone respond. Is it worthwhile? No one who really understands the worth of one soul in the eyes of God would ask such a question. Now the diamond goes to the workshop, where the facets are cut and polished. Then they begin to sparkle! In 1959, the emperor’s son in Japan fell in love with a commoner. He was determined he wouldn’t marry anyone else. But they couldn’t just get married; she was started on a rigorous training program to learn how to eat, drink, sit, walk, talk and behave in the palace—this is very, very important in Japan. She couldn’t have fit in if she hadn’t learned, and she was willing for it. They’ve been married a long time now. That’s how it is in the Kingdom. You can’t just take people out of the world, put them in heaven and make them the bride of Christ. One must begin learning the manner of the palace. In Revelations it tells us the bride was prepared. When you look around you in a crowd, there are some good-looking people; but not one in the crowd had any say about whether he or she would be born good-looking or ugly; and that isn’t fair. After all, handsome and beautiful people get more attention and better treatment; those who don’t look so good get ignored. That’s one of the facts of life. But every one of us has all the say as to what we’re going to look like in God’s eternal Kingdom forever. We’re deciding that right now. Who’s going to be the most beautiful soul in eternity? This isn’t guessing. It’ll be the one who is most closely conformed to the image of Christ. It’s the person who submitted most completely, without resistance, to God’s work. “Let Him now create unhindered....” From the moment a little seed falls in the ground, everything that happens in the environment benefits it. Sunshine is good...lightning puts nitrogen into the rain...wind strengthens roots and cross-pollinates. From the time the seed of life is planted in us, every experience has meaning and contributes to the well-being of that new life. But if there’s no seed in the soil, it doesn’t matter how the elements favor it, it remains a desert. One of the saddest things in life is to see hearts without the seed of life. They also, have hardships and heartaches and difficulties; they go through it all, but it’s all in vain. No seed is sown, so nothing is produced. One time in Korea, I visited a pottery; as in Jeremiah 18, it was primitive. The wheel was turned by a kick with a bare foot. That man had amazing, unbelievable skill. He was making one of those big pots that are used a lot in Korea. One hand was on the inside with a metal object which was pressing the clay outward; on the outside, he had an instrument with which he was beating the vessel. The vessel turned on the wheel and was formed by that conflict between the pressure on the inside and beating on the outside. God’s people have something inside that’s holding up—their conscience—while outside, they’re beaten by temptation. Conflict builds character and tempers the soul. Inside there’s faith, courage. Pearls are formed through suffering. I’ve a feeling some of the most beautiful qualities in the lives of His children come through suffering, not because God enjoys giving suffering, but because there’s no other way. One of our friends, a captain in a gold mine, told us the gold goes into the furnace seven times; and every time, the furnace is hotter than the time before. When it comes out the seventh time, you can actually see your face in it. Last time I went on a home visit, I got there just too late to see my father, who had died a month before I arrived. People in town noticed how much I was like my father. And I’d notice sometimes the way my mother would look, seeing little things that reminded her of my dad. Imagine a woman who loved her husband very much, but lost him before her little boy was born. The little boy begins to grow up, becomes a young man...and, without his being aware of what is happening; his mother is noticing a little look...some little thing in his voice that reminds her of her dead husband. Imagine how it would touch her heart, seeing little things she remembered from her husband, almost like seeing him again. I believe it touches God’s heart very, very deeply when He sees our works for a while... we’ve been submitting, and finally He begins to see some little marks that remind Him of His Son who gave His life for us. “Let Him now create unhindered....”