And you shall make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue…
The topaz is a beautiful jewel, of a bright orange or golden colour, though they are sometimes found green, blue, and red. It is very hard, being next to the ruby in this respect. I saw lately an account of a fine old topaz seal among the curiosities in a museum in England. What is called the field of the seal was blue. On this there were three arrows. On the top or crest of the seal was the head of a dragon on a crown. And round the seal was this inscription or motto — "Sola bona quae honesta. The meaning of this is Honesty, which is the only good thing." And this, according to the old proverb, might be rendered, "Honesty is the best policy." The topaz is considered to represent honesty. Most people think that if they don't cheat when they get a chance, and don't steal from those about them, they are honest. True honesty means to give to all persons whatever belongs to them. I want to speak of four different kinds of temptations, and to show how this precious jewel, the Bible topaz, will be a safeguard to you against them all.
I. The first kind of temptation in which this jewel will be a safeguard to us are TEMPTATIONS FOR THE EYE. You know when an army is besieging a walled city or fortress how very careful those inside of it are to protect the gates. But our souls are like walled cities or fortresses. Satan is the enemy trying to get in. And the eye is one of the gates of entrance. We must guard this gate well if we want to keep our souls safe. Job said he had "made a covenant with his eyes "not to look on anything that it was not right to look at. David used to pray — "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity." And if we keep this precious Bible jewel, the topaz of true honesty, about us, it will be a safeguard to us in temptations. The first temptations from which it will save us are temptations for the eye.
II. The second kind of temptations in which this Bible jewel, the topaz of true honesty, will be a safeguard to us are TEMPTATIONS FOR THE EAR. This is another of the principal gates of entrance to the soul. And it is a very important gate. It ought to be most carefully guarded. We receive a great deal of good, and a great deal of harm, through the ear. If our souls are saved at last, they will be saved by what we hear; and if our souls are lost at last, they will be lost by what we hear.
III. The third kind of temptations from which this jewel will save us are TEMPTATIONS FOR THE TONGUE. Oh, how much sin people commit by means of the tongue! If we could keep from saying what is wrong, how nicely we should get along! Well, if we carry this Bible jewel, the topaz of true honesty, about us all the time, it will keep us safe from these temptations.
IV. The fourth and last kind of temptations we are to speak of from which this jewel keeps us are TEMPTATIONS FOR THE HAND. I mean by this, the temptation to take or to keep what does not belong to us. If we keep this jewel about us — that is, if we remember God's presence and try honestly to please Him — it will save us from ever taking or keeping what does not belong to us. If you want to keep this jewel about you all the time, so as to be kept from temptation, there is one text you must always remember. It is this, "Thou, God, seest me." Oh! pray God to write that text on your memory.
(R. Newton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
WEB: "You shall make a breastplate of judgment, the work of the skillful workman; like the work of the ephod you shall make it; of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, you shall make it.