Throughout history God’s Word has been under attack. Yet it has survived. Not only that it continues to transform lives. That is precisely one reason why God’s Word is opposed.
People down through the centuries have tried every known method to destroy God’s Word. Many times it almost seemed that they had achieved their goal. Yet God encouraged His servants to write again the Bible translations they were working on. Thus we are now enjoying the benefits of their labor.
As we wonder how God’s servants found the courage to continue their work on Bible translations even after apparent setbacks, delays and loss of men and machinery; we find that their strength came from God Himself. And also from the Bible itself where we find two instances where God made provision to write again His words that were destroyed.
Reflection 1: God and Moses
(Exodus 24:12 to 18, 31:18 to 32:20, 34:1 to 28, Deuteronomy 10:1 to 5)
After delivering the people of Israel from Egypt, God gave them laws and commands that they were to follow. The most important of all these, the crown of all the commands were the Ten Commandments.
God asked Moses to come up Mount Sinai. The purpose was clearly described to Moses. He was told that it was to deliver to his hands the tablets of stone on which God Himself had written the law and commands for the instruction of the Israelites.
According to this instruction Moses went up Mount Sinai after instructing the people to look to Aaron and Hur for having their disputes settled in his absence. For six days the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud.
And then Moses went on up the mountain and entered the cloud. He stayed there on the mountain forty days and nights. After God finished talking to Moses, the Lord gave him the two tablets of stone which were inscribed by the finger of God.
But during the long time Moses was with God something sinful was happening in the Israelite camp. The delay provoked the people to compel Aaron to make an idol in the form of a golden calf. Then they proclaimed it the gods that had brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Aaron contributed his part to this sin by building an altar in front of the calf and announcing a festival. The people started offering sacrifices. Afterwards they sat down to eat and drink and also indulged in revelry.
God saw this. He told Moses all about what happened. He asked Moses to go down to the people. God also made His intentions clear that He wanted to destroy this people. But Moses pleaded with God not to do so.
And then with the two tablets inscribed on both sides by the finger of God he went down. And when he saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became so angry that he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking it into pieces at the foot of the mountain. Then in obedience to Moses’ call, the Levites went through the camp killing the people who had committed sin.
Some time later, God asked Moses to chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. God told Moses that He will write again the commandments that He had written the first time on the tablets which Moses had broken. So Moses did likewise. This time also he was with God forty days and forty nights like the first time. And God wrote again on the tablets the Ten Commandments.
As we look at this incident we find that the first time Moses in his anger had destroyed the stone tablets that God had given him. It was inscribed by God’s own finger. But this destruction was only a temporary setback. God asked Moses to come up again to Him with two similar stone tablets.
Moses had to chisel them out this time. And God again inscribed on it the words of the Ten Commandments. Through this God was showing the fact that His Word cannot be destroyed and that He will continue to proclaim His Word in spite of every setback.
Reflection 2: Jeremiah and Baruch
God’s word came to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim king of Judah. The Lord asked Jeremiah to take a scroll and write on it all the words that God had spoken to him concerning Israel, Judah and other nations from the time of the beginning of Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry.
God wanted the people to hear these words and have a chance to repent and turn to Him so that He could forgive them. So Jeremiah called Baruch (a kind of personal secretary to Jeremiah) to help him. Jeremiah dictated the words of God and Baruch wrote them on the scroll.
Afterwards Jeremiah instructed Baruch to take the scroll and go to the Lord’s temple and read it to the people on a day of fasting. Jeremiah so instructed because he was not permitted to go to the temple; perhaps by order of the king.
And on a day of fasting, Baruch from a room in the temple read from the scroll. When Micaiah heard the words of the Lord read from the scroll, he went and reported everything he had heard to some other officials.
They sent Jehudi to ask Baruch to bring the scroll and come. Baruch read from the scroll to them also. When they hear it they were terrified. They said that they should report all those words to the king. But they also advised Baruch and Jeremiah to go into hiding.
They went to the king and reported everything to him. So the king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. When he brought it he read it to the king. Now the king was sitting in his winter apartment with a fire burning in the firepot that was in front of him. Whenever Jehudi completed reading three or four columns from the scroll the king cut off the read portion with a scribe’s knife and threw it into the firepot.
In this manner all the scroll was burned. Though some of the officials who had listened to Baruch earlier urged the king not to burn the scroll, he did not listen. More than that neither the king nor all the people with him showed any fear. The king also ordered that Jeremiah and Baruch be arrested. But the Lord had hid them.
After all the this, the word of the Lord again came to Jeremiah. God asked Jeremiah to take another scroll and write on it all the words that were in the first scroll. God also sent a message against Jehoiakim who had burned the scroll.
And in accordance to God’s word Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch. Jeremiah dictated and Baruch wrote on the scroll all the words that were in the first scroll that was burned in the fire. Many similar words of judgment were added to it also.
As we look at this incident we find Jeremiah obeying God’s word and with the help of Baruch writing down all the words on a scroll. The king destroyed the scroll. But this was only a temporary setback. God commanded Jeremiah to write again. He wrote again. Through this God was showing the fact that His Word cannot be destroyed and that He will continue to proclaim His Word in spite of every setback.
Have you ever destroyed what you had written based on God’s Word? Have you faced the destruction of what you had written by some forces outside your control? The answer may be “yes” or may be “no.” Whatever it be, many children of God have passed through these experiences. Yet their works were blessed by God when they wrote them again afresh.
In the reflections that we saw the writing again was not to make perfect what was imperfect. This was because it was God’s Word coming directly from God Himself. It was just a repetition of what was written earlier.
But in our writings for God there could occur a lot of content that is not needed. Sometimes God causes it to be destroyed by our own hands or the hands of someone else. And we are sure to get dejected and depressed after such an experience. We count our every effort as lost.
But know that there is a purpose behind it all. We are given two incidents in the Bible to tell us about the indestructibility of God’s Word. Though our words can be destroyed, the presence of God’s Word in our writings cannot be. So the desire to write again is commanded within our hearts.
If you obey that God will help you come out with a better writing than the previous one. May God encourage you to write again. The fire of destruction has only served to destroy what was not needed. But when you write again only what is absolutely necessary is going to be written down. It won’t be destroyed. Because it contains the words of God that cannot be destroyed. So, “Write Again!’