Matthew 13:44 MKJV Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which when a man has found it, he hides it, and for the joy of it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Lamech heard stories of Roman solders burying gold and silver in fields until relieved, and sent back to Rome. They would than recover the buried treasure before returning home. He took the stories seriously, and proved them true by uncovering a number of small deposits. He didn’t receive much money for the items he uncovered. It was not safe to shop around for the best price. Eventually he uncovered enough to trade for a small wagon and a mule in the hopes he would use it to transport the treasure he was searching for.
As time pasted, Lamech honed his skills, getting better at noticing tell tale signs of earth which had been disturbed. By examining the vegetation he noticed differences in the type and age of plants. He also learned to look for natural landmarks, which could later be used by the solders to located their buried treasure. No matter how his skills increased, he never used them as an excuse to abandon prayer.
One day Lamech noticed a depression in the ground, indicating a large rock had been moved. This was the time to pray. After praising God as creator of all Heaven and earth, Lamech asked God for His guidance, and blessings. Looking around he saw a stone which appeared to fit the depression. Lamech moved the rock, and began digging. A short distance down, he heard the familiar clank of the shovel hitting a metallic object. Lamech uncovered four golden plates the size of his hand. This alone was a find of a life time, much more valuable than anything he had found before. Lamech praised God for the find, and asked that he be given the wisdom to invest the golden plates wisely.
Lamech took the plates, wrapped them in a cloth, and hide them in the side of his cart. Looking around in the field, he noticed a number of other indentations, and rocks which clearly had been moved. Lamech figured his best plan would be to buy the field, and return when he felt it was safe to recover the treasure.
Lamech cut a bundle of grass and gathered some wood so he would not attract attention going into town. His first stop was a visit to Zidon, the merchant he often sold his finds to. Although the golden plates were worth a small fortune, Lamech received very little money for them. It did not matter to Lamech, based on the fact he had seen the signs and promises of much more treasure. Zidon also provided Lamech with the information he needed to buy the field.
It was a long process to purchase the field. He first had to go to the local synagogue to find out who owned the field. He then had to contact the owner to negotiate a price. After that it was off to see the local governor to receive authority for the purchase, which was recorded by both the governors office, and the scribes at the synagogue. Each required an unexpected fee. Once the fees were paid, Lamech realized, he did not have the funds to pay the land owner. He returned to renegotiate the price, but the owner would not reconsider. Lamech had no choice but to offer his mule and wagon as a portion of the payment. Once the transaction was recorded and witnessed, he received the deed.
Returning to the field with nothing more than his shovel, a piece of parchment to prove he now owned the land, and a prayer in his heart, Lamech had no choice but to dig for more treasure so he could eat that week. He began digging at the first rock he found. This time the shovel made quite a different sound when it struck the buried treasure. He quickly uncovered a leather pouch. Inside the pouch he found dozens of gold coins. This was better than he had expected, as coins would not require any type of exchange.
Lamech could not believe his eyes as he uncovered bag after bag of gold and silver coins. Each bag containing between twenty four and forty pieces. Looking at the treasure uncovered in one day, Lamech thanked God for this enormous blessing, and pledged a large portion of it to the synagogue. He also prayed the new found fortune would not change him, and the solders who buried the money would not return to reclaim it.
Lamech was so excited, he could not sleep, so he spent the night in prayer. At first he saw visions of the rocks marking each location where the treasure was buried. As he prayed his vision changed. He began to see vineyards, orchards, and fields of grain. Little by little a plan began to unfold in his mind. The river was the key. One text revealed the meaning of the vision. “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; it sends out its roots by the river, and it shall not fear when the heat comes, but its foliage shall be green; and he is not worried in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 MKJV
During the day Lamech had hardly noticed the river, except for the fact it was a boundary line for the field he purchased, it had no other meaning at the beginning. Now he could see, this was the answer to the blessing he had been praying for. God’s plan was so much better than his. The vision would allow him to share the wealth while at the same time, wisely investing in the future. The layout of the land was perfect for an irrigation project. It had a steep rise on the banks of the river, protecting against a possible flood. For the most part the land slopped gently down hill from the river, an essential feature for irrigation.
Lamech began to see how this would be a blessing to others in this depressed economy. People needed work, he needed laborers, and for the first time in his life, he had the funds to pay them. The field would have to be cleared and prepared for planting. Irrigation channels would have to be dug. Gates would have to be installed in the embankments to control the flow of water. He would need people to plant, and care for the vineyard, orchard, and grain crops. Wisely invested, the treasure would be a blessing to many families.
Almost immediately Lamech began to put God’s plan into action, praying every step along the way. He talked to people in town about irrigation. They directed him to Obed. Stories had been circulated he had learned new techniques in irrigation and flow control. Obed told Lamech about a new process and materials he had been using to construct gates to control the flow of water. They were stronger and more reliable. They used a new material known as concrete for a foundation, and iron gates sliding in oak runners. Lamech was certain he was led to Obed by God. He gave Obed a deposit to buy materials and hire the necessary workers.
Lamech began praying to find labors to clear the fields. As he walked about the city, his prayers once again were answered when he met a man pulling a cart which appeared to contain all his belongings. His wife and three small children were also with him. Abidan told him how he had lost his little girl on the journey, and how he had been evicted from his home with only a moments notice. Lamech had not considered building homes to house the workers. He had not even considered building a home of his own. Lamech knew God had guided their paths, that this meeting was not by shear chance. Lamech gave Abidan money to spend the night at the inn, directions to his land, and a request to join him in the preparation of the land. With a joyful heart Abidan accepted. All along the road Abidan had been praying to find enough employment to purchase a night at the inn, and enough food for the journey. Now he had been blessed with meaningful, and secure employment.
God’s plan was not revealed all at once, just as Noah was not told he would spend more than a year with his family on a boat loaded with animals on a raging sea. He was told the beginning and the end. Faith carried him through everything in between. It was like a test, to see if the promise is first accepted, and believed. God wanted to see if Lamech had the faith to take the first step. With each progressive step, additional details of God’s plan, and the lessons they taught were revealed.
The treasure was buried in this field for a purpose. God led Lamech to the treasure to accomplish much more than he had ever imagined. He had always prayed for God’s guidance, and promised to help others whenever he found any treasure. Over the years God had tested Lamech, and proved him. God provided the treasure after Lamech had applied the lessons to his life. Each lesson drew him into a closer relationship with God.
It wasn’t by chance the field cost Lamech everything he had. God needed him to return to the field alone, so He could reveal His plan, which was much bigger than helping a single servant in need.
Because Abidan had experience working on a villa, Lamech made him foreman, paying him five times what he earned when he worked for Machi. Abidan still wondered why he had to face the trials that brought him to this point, but he praised God for the blessings that came to him, and his family so quickly. With all the responsibilities he now had, he had little time to contemplate the pain, but dedicated himself to serving God, and doing his best to serve Lamech to the best of his ability. The prayers and praise he offered God helped him to accomplish goals beyond his abilities.
Within a short time the land was cleared, irrigation gates installed, ditches dug, vines and trees planted, and homes were under construction. What was an empty field a few weeks ago had now become a center of activity. More than one hundred people were now gainfully employed, each thankful and praising God throughout the day. As Lamech made his way from one project to another, he was totally amazed at the cooperative atmosphere as people greeted and helped one another.
When the work was completed, most of the money was spent. Lamech paid well, and had faith the Lord would see all the required work would be concluded. It would be years before the vines and trees would produce a crop, but the grain crops would be ready in a few months. This required a bit of planning and budgeting for the future. Lamech finally realized, the fields had been cleared, and the rocks removed. The excitement made him forget, there may have been more treasure buried in the field. The thought left his mind as quickly as it entered. He was certain God has, and will always have a better plan.
Years passed, and the villa prospered. The irrigation saw the vines and trees through a number of short droughts, allowing them to produce a bountiful harvest. Every first fruit was taken to the synagogue and offered to God. The poor knew they had a place they were always welcome. None of them ever took advantage of Lamech’s hospitality. The Lord blessed Lamech, his workers, and the land in every way imaginable.
Matthew 13:45-46 MKJV
(45) Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls;
(46) who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Lamech developed a hobby of collecting pearls. When time allowed he traveled far and wide, seeking pearls of every color and size to add to his collection. He began with simple white pearls with a hint of iridescent color. As he learned about the quality and depth of color each pearl exhibited, he was taught how to examine them in the light, and look for the most consistent shades. He collected black, white, yellow, pink, green, and blue pearls of different sizes. One day he found a gray pearl which exhibited shades of silver when turned to the sun. Some of the pearls he purchased had shades of two, and sometimes three colors. He prized these above the others, even though they were not considered very high quality. Some of the pearls Lamech purchased were of enormous size, although to him, they lacked the splendor of some of the smaller pearls.
One day he heard a story of a man along the coast who had purchased a rare find. It was said this pearl was unlike any other, with an array of colors resembling a rainbow. Tales placed the size as one of the largest in the world. Others said it was of the purest white, with no hint of any discoloration. The conflicting stories aroused Lamech’s interest. He set out on a trip to find the truth.
Arriving in the port city Lamech’s excitement out weighed his need to seek comfort and a room for the evening. He went directly to the shop on the bay he had been told about. Inside he met the owner, Urbane. Lamech got right down to business, “I have heard stories of a special pearl in your possession.” Urbane answered, “I have a lot of special pearls, what exactly are you looking for?” Lamech was a little surprised at the answer, adding, “the one with the special colors, all the colors, arrayed with perfect consistency throughout the entire sphere. I have heard it is one of the largest, and most beautiful ever found.” Urbane looked over Lamech, trying to size him up in an attempt to establish a price. He could see by his dress, he was not a poor man, and considered him a serious buyer. After a moment of though, Urbane decided it was wiser to show a number of pearls, in the hopes he could determine the buyer’s true intent. Heading to a back room Urbane commented, “I will return in a moment.” Lamech looked around the tiny shop, noticing the merchandise was all natural materials including fine pottery, detailed woven baskets and mats, exquisite wood carvings, and cast bronze bowls, pitchers, and containers of all shapes and sizes. He also noticed, the lack of deities found in other shops of this stature.
In a few moments Urbane returned with a silver tray containing a number of small finely carved wooden boxes. Laying it down on the counter he lifted up the largest and most finely engraved. Opening it he gently lifted out one of the largest pearls Lamech had ever seen. His excitement reached a new level as Urbane handed it to him. He held his breath is he lifted it up to the light. The pearl gave off a silverish glow, like moon light on a crisp autumn night. He rotated it in his fingers studying the depth of the color and how the light reflected. All he saw was silver. It was a fine pearl, but not what he was looking for. Handing it back to Urbane, he said, “this is not what I am looking for.”
The result was the same for pearl after pearl. Many were of finer quality than those in Lamech’s collection, but he had a vision of the perfect pearl in him mind, and high expectations of finding it. Finally Urbane opened the last box. A small smooth light tan box, finely formed with a simple domed pattern. Lamech held his breath, and felt his heart jump as Urbane began lifting the pearl from the darkened box. As soon as the pearl was exposed to the light of the room, it showed brilliant shades of green and red. As Urbane placed the pearl in Lamech’s palm shades of blue and silver danced across the surface. Lamech stood at the counter, rolling the pearl in his palm for some time. He could not believe the way the colors blended from yellow to red, silver to blue, and then to purple, back to red. Turning his head Lamech located a beam of sunlight coming through the window. Taking the pearl between his thumb and forefinger he headed for the light.
Words could not describe the magnificent blend of colors and naturally polished surface. Colors seemed to jump from the surface, blending in a radiance never seen before. Lamech held the pearl directly in the light, looking at the outer surface he saw a rainbow surround the tiny sphere. This reminded Lamech of the covenant given to Noah. He wondered if the rainbow shown to Noah extended around the world. This pearl was special! It was smaller than most in his collection but the colors where beyond imagination, exceeding all his expectations.
As Lamech held the pearl up to the rays of the sun, and rotated it in his fingers he saw an unexpected sight. As the tiny sphere was rotated, the rainbow seen around he pearl remained consistent. No matter how the pearl was viewed, the shimmering rainbow remained. He knew this was a pearl beyond price.
Turning back to Urbane, he asked, “how much?” There was little desire to bargain. Lamech had already given away his desire with the look in his eyes. Urbane answered, “gold and silver I have, but the price required for this pearl you may not want to pay. I want to know, did you come prepared to pay the price?” Without a word Lamech handed the pearl back to Urbane, turned and walked out the door without saying a word. Urbane laid the pearl upon the silver tray and waited.
Lamech had considered the price long before planning for his journey. The breath taking beauty of the pearl was more than he had imagined, and the choice was an easy one to make. Reaching into his saddle bag, he pulled out a pouch, and opened it, looked inside, opened a few small pieces of cloth inside, examining the contents for a moment, closed the pouch, and headed back inside the shop.
Placing the pouch on the counter, Lamech said, “this is the price I am willing to pay.” He opened the pouch, turned it on its side, emptying the contents on the counter, exposing dozens of small pieces of cloth, each containing one pearl. “I will trade my entire collection for that one pearl.” Urbane unwrapped one of the pearls, a large black one which shimmered with a shade of silvery gray when held to the light. Without inspecting another Urbane announced, “done.”
The surprise on Lamech’s face was more of a reward to Urbane than the pearls he had just traded for. They shook hands to seal the deal. Urbane placed the pearl of great wealth back in its small, unassuming box, and handed it to Lamech. Filled with a joy seldom felt in this life, Lamech headed out the door.
The end of the day was drawing near. Lamech took a room at a local inn. After dinner he took the pearl from its case and held it up the light from the oil lamp. The yellowish, orange flame gave the pearl a rather warm glow, as the colors engulfed the tiny sphere. He gazed at it for hours before falling to sleep.
Awaked by a crowing cock, Lameck quickly gathered his things for the long journey home. He wanted to get an early start. He could not wait to share his excitement. As soon as he reached the street he noticed a long line of people heading for the shore. He watched one group after another pass, finally questioning a young woman, “where is everyone headed?” She replied, “Jesus is on the shore.” Lamech had heard about Jesus, and always hoped to hear Him speak, and maybe see Him perform a miracle. He left his horse, walking along with the others.
There on the shore he saw Jesus and His disciples. One of them helped Jesus into a small boat, and pushed it out a small distance from the shore. As the sun began rising over the lush green forests of the distant hills, reflecting off the water in the most vivid shades of red and blue, the purple sky giving way to colors of bright blue and yellow, Jesus began to speak, “Behold, a sower went forth to sow;”
The scene struck Lamech in the most unexpected way. He had never experienced such a beautify sunrise. The cloud formations stood still at just the right location, allowing the bright red sun, like a fireball to shine directly between them and the distant trees. For a moment, the sun was directly behind Jesus. As Lamech listened to His Words, he shaded his eyes from the glare of the sun. For a moment a rainbow appeared around Jesus just as a breeze began to blow. As the tiny boat raised and lowered upon the tiny waves, the rainbow raised and lower, outlining Jesus’ figure.
Each word struck at Lamech’s heart. At that moment it seemed he had been blessed with everything a man could ask for. He was blessed by his field, the company of his workers and friends, and now, he was having the scriptures opened to him like he had never imagined. Each Word from Jesus’ lips brought new understanding to Lamech’s heart. Now he had real treasure to share with those back home.
When Jesus left the boat, Lamech decided to leave for home. The time he remained was well spent, but he wanted to return home by night fall. On the long ride home he went over Jesus’ story again and again. Each time he discovered something about the parable he did not realize before. Lamech thought to himself, if only Jesus would visit my villa. I would like everyone to hear His words.
Lamech spent the next two years listening to Jesus speak whenever he learned He was near. Each time he took along a group of workers and friends. Each time he learned so many things, and saw so many miracles. The most vivid miracle which remained fresh in his mind was the rainbow that surrounded Jesus on the lake.