“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.” Psalm 19:10a (KJV)
The California gold rush (1848–1858) commenced on January 24, 1848 when James W. Marshall came across a gold nugget in the American River while constructing a sawmill for John Sutter, a Sacramento agriculturalist. News of Marshall’s discovery brought thousands of immigrants to California from elsewhere in the United States and from other countries.
The immigrants were called "'49ers” (which, by the way, a NFL franchise felt the need to capitalize on this classification) in reference to the 1849 calendar year. This large incursion of “49ers” caused California's population to increase radically. In San Francisco, for example, the population grew from 1,000 in 1848 to over 20,000 by 1850. California's overall population growth was so swift that it was incorporated into the Union as the 31st state in 1850—just two years after the United States had acquired it from Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which had ended the Mexican-American War.
Of the 300,000 people who came to America during the Gold Rush, approximately half arrived by sea and half came overland on the California Trail and the Gila River Trail. During this trip, forty-niners often faced substantial hardships like severe storms and sickness, drought, and death by hostiles, all in search of a golden treasure.
Are you aware that the book of Proverbs also points to prospecting the treasure of the wisdom of God’s Word?
“If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:4-6 (KJV)
Unlike a natural resource that is subject to depletion, the divine treasure of God’s Word is forever and will never be exhausted.
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8 (KJV)
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 (KJV)
In addition, as our opening text underscores, God’s words are more precious and far exceed the estimated value of gold. During the days of the California Gold Rush, prospecting was knuckle-busting, blistering, bruising, back-breaking and oftentimes heart-aching work. One had to yoke himself to an enormous work ethic cemented in a courageous constitution before the earth yielded its reward of riches. Basically trials and travail trained and transitioned you to discover the treasure.
Are you a fellow “49er”? Not referring to the team in San Francisco, but the team that is justified by faith with the Jesus Jersey and the helmets of salvation! This is the team that, by the way, will always win in the end!
What measure of steps are you taking to dig in the Master’s mine? Don’t turn and run in the trial! The treasure awaits those that prevail in travail!
For the Glory of God,