The Sardius (Heb. Odem)

Exodus 28:17  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
This was evidently a stone of a red color. And it is interesting to observe, that the same three letters of the Hebrew compose the word Adam-the name given by God to the man and the woman, (Gen. 5:22Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:2),) including them both in this one appellative: the man and the woman together forming the one Adam. One of the titles now of the Lord Jesus, is the last Adam, the life-giving Spirit, in whom all, who shall ever live, are seen in the purpose of God, and in due time will be manifested as His fullness; the woman forming the completeness of the man. The name of Judah (praise) was inscribed on this stone; praise, worship, glory to God, being one of the leading objects, which He has in view in that great mystery, Christ and the Church.
The red color seems also to be significant, in this first jewel of the breastplate: for it is the color of wine, (Prov. 23:3131Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. (Proverbs 23:31);) it is also the color of blood. (2 Kings 3:2222And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: (2 Kings 3:22); Isa. 63:22Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (Isaiah 63:2).) Judah was to be the object of praise, according to the blessing of Jacob, (Gen. 49:88Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. (Genesis 49:8),) and also would be filled with praise, because filled with joy. His land was to be a land of vineyards; and in the beautiful passage from the last words of Israel, we have a very striking typical prophecy respecting the use of the vine and the pressed grape, by this tribe of praise:-" Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine; and his teeth white with milk." (Ver. 11, 12.) The most common actions in life were thus to be linked on with the vine; and so far from desecrating the choice vine by using it for ordinary purposes, even the ass's colt was to be bound to it.
Does not this foreshadow the daily, hourly responsibility of the believer, to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks? A great temptation of the adversary is, to try and divide the life of a child of God into two distinct portions, one a kind of secular, and the other a religious life. So that on appointed days, seasons, or hours, Christ is sought, and confessed, and worshipped: and the Bible becomes the book perused, and the subject of meditation. But except at these times, Christ is neglected; His name is studiously concealed; and the ordinary business of life is conducted, it may be with strict propriety and integrity, but not with reference to the precepts of the word of God, or to His glory. Not so however, when praise and worship are the great pursuits of the believer; when he realizes his princely calling and standing, as one of that royal line, of whom the Lord Jesus is the Head; and one of that priestly house, over which He is the High Priest. Judah also washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. The vine was used and referred to in all his ordinary pursuits in the field. The blood of the grape was employed for cleansing his clothes and garments. The every-day clothes were thus purged, as well as the robes of state and glory. So again the believer finds the daily need of that precious blood, which cleanseth us from all sin: which removes the defilements arising from contact with an evil world without, and from an evil heart within; and which preserves unspotted our priestly robes of purity, so that we have access at all times into the presence of God.
But more than this:-" His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." He drank so deep of this joyous cup, that his very countenance betokened the effects of it. Alas, how little do men say of believers now, " These men are full of new wine!" How little do our countenances display the fact that we have been taking large drafts of the cup of salvation! How seldom is the Christian found so exhilarated by the joy of Christ as to be deemed by the world an enthusiast, a madman, unfit for the ambitions and pursuits so eagerly followed all around! " The children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light." They set before themselves wealth, fame, or pleasure, as the steady object of their pursuit. They toil unceasingly after these vanities. They drink intoxicating drafts incessantly, and determine that to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.
These drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, are numerous. But we rarely greet the servant of the Lord, with his mouth full of praise, and his heart full of joy; captivated by that one blessed object, Jesus Christ, and Him crucified; determining to know nothing else; and able to say in truth" To me, to live is Christ." Where the eyes are red with this heavenly wine, the teeth are sure to be white with the milk of the Word. Instead of the adder's poison being under the lips, these rejoicing saints of God, will like new-born babes, drink that unmixed nourishment so largely, that it flows out at the mouth; and the testimony will go forth for Jesus, which may indeed be despised by the wise and prudent amongst men, but will be mighty, through the power of God, for blessing and salvation to the needy and thirsty around.
The red glorious color of the Sardius seems to be well connected with the name of Judah. The Lord Jesus Himself is the first to utter praise to God as the result of His baptism of blood. " In the midst of the church will I praise thee." And as we contemplate Him, and taste of His joy, so do we yield to God thanksgiving, and shine forth with something of the beauty of this first stone of the breastplate.