Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Engraver.

When I learnt to write it was on a slate board with chalk. Today people have computers – with spell checks. At least I was one step ahead of those in ancient time who had to write. They virtually had to collect the ingredients, clay, then cut into it their words – hieroglyphics – then baked their tablet before posting it. It is from that background of the writer being initially an engraver we can appreciate certain facets of God’s word. A lot of our writing technology today is subject to decay at a faster rate than clay baked. Shards with inscriptions are still be found two thousand and more years later.

It is worthwhile to note that God is the original engraver. The 10 Commandments were chiselled into rock by the finger of God, Exodus 31:18. The originals were placed in the Ark of the Covenant as a testimony to the Nation. The trouble was that the people honoured the writings but were deaf to its message. There were, of course, notable exceptions who stand out in Biblical history. As the Lord wanted His people to know His commands, judgements and statutes He had the people wear them as a sign upon their hands and between their eyes. The New Testament described them as phylacteries. Householders were instructed to have the commandments on their doorposts and gates. In my youth I called upon people whose house had these words printed on their veranda.

The trouble was it was all outward, not inward.

God’s intention is for His people, you and me included, to have them engraved on our hearts. This is another of the implications behind the picture of God as the potter. If we are the clay, and we need to be, guess what He wants to do? Engrave His word into our heart. Hebrews 10:16 quotes Jeremiah who in turn expressed the Lord God’s intention. That was to write His laws into the hearts of His people. The wonder of this is summed up by the Psalmist “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.’ (119:11) As with clay we too must experience the baking process. For us the 'furnace' comes when what we hear from God’s word and the flames of doubt, fear, opposition and self-interest flare up and blaze away. It is the testimony of our faith and conviction that God’s word is true which cause the flames to engrave God’s word on our heart and mind.

Job’s words in chapter 19:23-24 is a cry for people to properly understand his situation and hope in God. 'O that with an iron pen and with lead they (my words) were engraved on a rock forever.' The Almighty went better that that. He inscribed them into His Scriptures which endures forever. Job's story is unique but his cry is a challenge to us all. We each have a unique testimony, simple or complex, everyday stuff or strange. The Lord wants to use our testimony to witness to His power, grace and providence.  This is especially important within your family arena. Record, on any one of modern day devices (or like me, on old fashion paper) to tell the Lord's dealings in your life. This information can speak to your family and friends long after you are dead. Let your journey with the Lord’s be engraved deep within your being and yet available to be read by the inquisitive, the enquirers and even the cynics.

Job's hope, confidence and longing are poignantly expressed in  Job 19:25—29.

He knows his Redeemer lives. Job has been doing it tough and doesn't have 'cut and dried' simplistic answers to his sadness. We know not where, where or how this man and the Lord entered into a redeemed relationship, but it happened. His conviction was unshakable. Job also believed his Redeemer will stand upon this earth. That is pointing to two events. The first of course when Jesus entered our history at Bethlehem to become the Redeemer. The second time will be when He returns to establish His kingdom. This is the very kingdom  we pray for when we say the Lord’s Prayer!

Job knows he will die yet is convinced he will live and behold His Redeemer. Such a hope and reality points to belief in a personal resurrection. The very thought of this meeting seems to make him go 'weak at the knees'. This is the wonder of our relationship too. We shall see Jesus face to face even though death may stand between us at the moment. For those who know Jesus as Redeemer the fear of meeting Him is non existent. The same cannot be said for those who reject Him as Lord and Saviour.

Until that day we are to live out what the Spirit of God has engraved within. Then when life throws its cruel, callous and chaotic 'stones' at us we will say, even through tears “I know my Redeemer lives!”

File/Devotional seminar – tahlee.

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