by Michael E. Brooks
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV).
I enjoy bringing back souvenirs from my trips abroad, especially useful items from other cultures which differ from those to which I am accustomed.
On one trip to Nigeria I found some wooden tablets used by school children as note pads, on which they write with chalk. Paper and ink are beyond their financial ability — they make do with what they can provide economically.
The history of writing materials is fascinating. I have one book entitled “They Wrote on Clay.” It describes ancient peoples and the history of written languages. Reading such books reminds us of how far developed nations have progressed.
We write on computers and read on Kindle or Nook eBooks. If (perish the thought) we are reduced to writing by hand we have the finest of papers and pens which produce high quality with minimal efforts.
These technological improvements are wonderful, and we are genuinely blessed to have them. But focusing on them may cause us to forget that it is not the material on which words are written that is of greatest importance. It is the message received.
I once read that a friend of Henry David Thoreau told him excitedly about Alexander Graham Bell’s wonderful invention, the telephone. “Just think,” he said, “a man in New York can pick up his instrument and talk immediately with a person in Texas.” Thoreau’s answer was perceptive: “But what if the man in New York does not have anything to say to the person in Texas?”
One of the greatest tragedies of our time is the misuse and abuse of technology. Some have documented that the greatest number of “hits” on the internet are to pornographic sites.
News-stands are filled with “skin magazines,” plus those purveying gossip, rumor, and similar trash. Countless tons of paper and ink plus millions of dollars of equipment and labor go into producing that which has no redeemable virtue (see Philippians 4:8).
There is written material of great worth, however. Not only does the Bible remain the most often printed book, but there are great numbers of spiritually related books, study helps, educational materials, and other positive literature published regularly. We need to focus our time and attention on these rather than those things which deny truth and encourage sin.
Jeremiah spoke of the written word of God from another perspective. It is not just the Bible written on parchment, papyrus or paper that will lead us to God and a successful life. It is the Word of God which becomes written on our hearts and in our lives that has true power.
James commanded, “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
Words written on paper may be ignored, neglected and forgotten. God’s word received in our hearts, believed and obeyed, has life transforming power. It will enable us to be saved from sin. It will teach and encourage us to do God’s will and please him in every way (Colossians 1:9-10).
It will enrich our lives and strengthen us against every threat and danger (Psalms 1:1-6). Let us make reading the Bible and absorbing its message a daily task.
by Michael E. Brooks