Godly fathers’ desire for their daughters or POLISHED NOT PAINTED!

Polished granite stones, photo by L R on Unsplash

“That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace,” Psalm 144:12.

Here in the island of Ireland, we are all familiar with granite. It is seen in large displays such as our Mountains of Mourne and in  the Irish Republic there is the extensive range of the Wicklow mountains. Smaller samples of this stone are seen in graveyards, marking the graves of the departed.

It is described as ‘an igneous rock consisting mainly of quartz, mica and feldspar. It is extremely durable, as it is not easily chipped or damaged by heat. Hundreds of colours can be found naturally, which makes granite a perfect design element to homes or businesses.’

Frequently it is used in the making of an ornamental stone to mark the building of a church and it is ‘ceremonially’ laid by a guest at a ‘stone-laying’ service, so familiar to Free Presbyterians.

The stone referred to in our text is not named but if we think of a granite stone we will easily understand the spiritual point that is to be observed in this verse.



This father is requesting of the Lord that daughters might experience the moving of His grace in her life whereby she may show forth a beauty that He alone can produce in a life. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,” 1 Chronicles 16:29. This world does not consider ‘holiness’ beautiful but the Lord does. It is that ‘beauty’ this father desires in daughters.

1. Not all rocks or stones can be polished. Were some rocks subjected to polishing they would merely crumble away. There is no richness in their composition that can be brought forth by polishing.

2. There are rocks which can be polished. Not all men and women consist of that which may be polished and made beautiful. By nature we are merely ‘clay’. But the marvellous grace of God transforms a sinner who believes the gospel and he/she becomes a ‘new creation’. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:17. From the ‘clay of depravity’ the sinner is transformed and becomes one of the precious stones built into the spiritual temple of God.

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” Ephesians 2:19-22.

3. Thus the grace of God imparts to the unsightly sinner at conversion a nature which can be polished and beautified. Throughout Scripture, the virtuous and holy women are extolled and praised for their spiritual ‘beauty’. I believe I am correct in saying that only Rachel was referred to as being physically ‘beautiful. “Rachel was beautiful and well favoured,” Genesis 29:17. The emphasis is rather upon spiritual beauty.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price,” 1 Peter 3:1-4.

The ‘paint and putty’, sold by the ton world-wide to professing Christian women anxious to be considered beautiful and adopting the reasoning of this world and being ‘conformed’ to its views in order to try and obtain this beauty, will not see their unbelieving husbands ‘won’ to Christ, no matter how much make-up is applied!

True beauty is that which will not fade with the passing years but rather will grow more Christ-like, Who is “altogether lovely”, Song of Solomon, 5:16. Such beauty is the consequence of the workings of God’s grace within  the heart and not the result of the applying of the produce of the likes of ‘Max Factor’ and other such artificial allurements, so commonly applied in vain. Such concoctions produce what is considered by the world as beauty but in truth, it is not even skin deep since it merely lies on the surface of the skin, awaiting removal at the end of the day!

True beauty is like that which is seen in the granite stone, a beauty brought forth from within. The ‘beauty of holiness’ is an implanted, spiritual beauty, a likeness to Christ, which the Lord desires to see manifested in the life of all who are truly His. It is the beauty that young women should seek after for such is pleasing in God’s eyes and in the eyes of all who think and reason and hold to the values of the Lord.


With modern machinery the work has become less wearisome but in day of the Psalmist it would have entailed much physical labour.

The polishing process wonderfully illustrates the work of ’SANCTIFICATION’ within the soul of the believer. That work is done by the mighty hand of God: for granite cannot polish itself, so the believer cannot make themselves holy!

1. Here is a definition of sanctification. Question 35 of the Shorter catechism asks: “What is sanctification?” The answer is wonderfully succinct.

“Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”

It entails a ‘renewing’ and a ‘dying’.

2. The use of the term ‘die’ with regards sanctification is an indication of how hard the process is. Just as the granite rock is subject to an eroding, dying process as it is polished, so ‘dying to self and to sin’ is an essential element of sanctification.

Consider these verses.

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live,” Romans 8:13.

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts,” Galatians 5:24.

“That ye put off (cast away) concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Ephesians 4:22-24.

The Christian must fight a deadly battle against the sins of his/her flesh and seek to kill off those sins. As one commentator puts it: “They were entirely to subdue their evil propensities, so that they would have no remains of life; that is, they were not at all to indulge them.” As the body has many ‘members’, arms, legs etc, by which the body lives, so our old nature has many ‘members’ by which it carries out its sinful impulses. Those ‘members’ are to be killed off and their sinful activities brought to an end.

3. Another term linked to sanctification is ‘putting off’. That term is used of the casting away of a soiled garment with an air of disgust!

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” Colossians 3:5.

As the changing of our apparel gives us a new look, even so, by the process of sanctification we take on a likeness to Christ as we are robed in the garments of holiness. As Lazarus was loosed from his grave clothes as the first thing after his resurrection (John 13:43-44) even so the stripping of the believer of the old habits of sin begins immediately they are saved.

Surely we can see how the polishing of granite illustrates this gracious process. The rock is gradually changed from a rough formless lump, freshly blasted from the quarry face, into a shining and beautiful form.


“That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace”.

This is what the Psalmist desired for daughters.

1. Corner stones. The womenfolk play a very vital role within the family and a well-brought up daughter, blessed of God, will fulfil that duty in her day.

Corner stones in a building serve to unite and join walls together. Daughters, united and conformed to Christ, the ‘chief corner stone’,  play a vital role in the structure of God’s spiritual temple, His gospel kingdom. How often the deeds of womenfolk who followed Christ and ministered to Him and His disciples and who proved more courageous, faithful and brave at the time of His crucifixion and resurrection, are recorded in the gospels. How often Paul spoke of those womenfolk whose labours greatly helped him!

These references are testimonies to the ‘uniting, binding power of “women professing godliness,” 1 Timothy 2:10.

2. Polished. We have already mentioned this. What beauty a piece of polished rock takes on! Whether it be marble, granite, diamond, or one the many other precious stones, it is the polishing which transforms them into objects of beauty.

An uncut, unpolished diamond

I have marvelled at how often there is evidence of God’s gracious purpose amongst His people illustrated in nature! Be it the transformation of the creeping caterpillar to the gloriously coloured butterfly or a rough unappealing piece stone into a shining diamond, the change that God would accomplish amongst His saints is set forth numerous times in nature!

3. Part of a palace. The Psalmist desired that his daughters be as part of the dwelling place of the king. Peter spoke in like terms of the saints of God in general. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,” 1Peter 2:5.


A cut and polished diamond

In the “mystery of God”, the glorious and eternal purpose of God in Christ, the converted are part of that eternal spiritual house. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16. The church is said to be the temple of God, because it is of His building, and in which He dwells. He is ever amongst His people.

Only ‘polished stones’ can be built into the temple of God. How this truth is ignored by the multitude who consider themselves Christians! They are as they were born into this world. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me,”Psalm 51:5. Unless we are ‘born again’, that is how we will remain and the state in which we will die. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” John 3:6. Being unregenerate, they “shall utterly perish in their own corruption,” 2 Peter 2:12. The false comforts of deceitful preachers who assure their flock that their baptism and church attendance will be sufficient to obtain entrance to glory, will prove an empty hope indeed.

It is for this reason I have sought to denounce with all my power, throughout my sixty-years of preaching God’s Word, the wretched deceivers who blindly lead their blinded flocks to hell.

Dear reader, read your Bible and find out from it what God has said regarding the way to heaven.

Think on these words written about the conversion of the Philippian jailer.

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house,” Acts 16:26-34.

Dear reader, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” That is God’s truth for you.

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
Friday 26th April, 2024