In the old days, not so long ago, when the preacher gave out a bible reference, there would be this rusting of paper around the room. Now, instead of hunting for the bible page, many of us reach for our phones. It might be quieter, but the downside is the temptation to check your emails or Facebook instead of following what the preacher is reading!
The great thing about bible apps, though, is that you have them pretty much to hand wherever you are. On the bus, in the waiting room, lunchtime at work…you can reach into your pocket and access the word of God.
When Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, and receive instructions about making the sanctuary, or tabernacle, God had something ready prepared to give him at the end: two inscribed tablets of stone – the Testimony (Exodus 31:18). This is thought to be the Ten Commandments, written into the stone by the finger of God, and had been promised to Moses in Exodus 24:12.
Writing was not new – Moses himself had already recorded the laws God had given them, in Exodus 24:4. Writing in stone was not uncommon at the time, but usually the text would be etched into the rock or wall. Portable tablets of stone were rare. But God wanted them to know two things – that his Word would last forever, and that it could go with them wherever they went.
How appropriate then, that we have our own ‘tablets’ and phones, through which we can access the entire bible, in our pockets, most places we go.
But that was not the end of the story. It wasn’t even the start. For John’s Gospel opens with the words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” Jesus himself is the Word become flesh (John 1:14), whose ministry demonstrated the contents of those two tablets. He is the Word of God, the One who will last forever, and who promises to be with us wherever we go.
I don’t pretend to understand it fully, but I do know this: when we flick to the bible app, or read the verse of the day, Jesus the Word is waiting to speak into my being, to feed and water my spirit, forever, wherever. Emails and Facebook can’t do that. Lord, let me not get distracted from hearing your Word.