From Exodus 24:9-18.
Archaeologists dance with joy when they find ancient stones with carved writing. From the Rosetta Stone to Egyptian hieroglyphs, writings upon stone remain for thousands of years, and that is the intent. Stories, laws, contracts, historical events have all been carved into stone that the words themselves may last for countless generations, long after the writers themselves are forgotten.
When God delivered his foundational laws to the people of Israel, they were written upon stone. Near the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, God called Moses for a meeting upon the mountain. After Moses brought several Israelite leaders up to the mountain, God called Moses to go even higher, deeper into God's presence, where he would give Moses his laws written in stone.
I’ll never forget the classic scene in the movie "The Ten Commandments," when a speechless Moses (powerfully portrayed by Charlton Heston) watches the fire of God burn the commandments into the mountainside, then carving them out in two stone tablets. When then commandments were finished, Moses cautiously approached the tablets, proclaiming that they were “written with the finger of God.” Decades later, in an era of mind-boggling computer graphics and digital animation, the scene from the 1956 movie is still impressive.
This pivotal chapter in divine history should have special meaning for Christian writers, telling us several things. First of all – God himself writes! He is the author of all authors, his words lasting thousands of years, never going out of print. The fact that God himself is an author should have a sobering effect upon the task of writing.
Secondly, God gave Moses those precious words only after Moses had spent significant time deep in the presence of God. Could it be that when Christian writers stare blankly at an empty page or screen we suffer from a lack of words primarily because we have not spent enough time deep in the presence of God?
Thirdly, those ten commandments were written in stone so that they would be written and rewritten for successive generations. This is our task. Whatever we write, we should always ask ourselves if we are using our writing skills to promote the laws of God to our generation and the next.
Lastly, it is God’s words that are written in stone. Ours are not. As much as we admire our own spiritual lessons and biblical insights, we must always clearly distinguish between our words and God’s. We may do our best to communicate Christian life and faith in books, songs, sermons, or articles, but we understand that any insight given to us is then filtered through an all too human vessel. God’s words alone carry divine authority, and we but humbly offer our words as those of mere spiritual sojourners who continue to make new discoveries along the trail.
As a Christian writer, how does it impact your writing knowing that God himself is a writer? Have you ever confused your spiritual insights and understandings with the very words of God? How have you advanced the timeless laws of God in your writings?
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction’ ” (Exodus 24:12, TNIV).
From my blog: Write Down These Words, devotionals for Christian writers.