Wednesday 25 May 2016

The Engraver on the Heart.

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 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 it comes when what we hear from God’s word is written within the fire of doubt, fear, opposition and self-interest arises. It is the testimony of our faith and conviction that God’s word is true which causes the flames into toughen and preserve God’s word within.

Psalm 119 is a wonderful psalm about the Word of God and its relevance to everyday life. As it is engraved on our heart so it will influence us consciously and unconsciously as 119:105 ‘ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’ It is worth the time to read the whole psalm for it seems to cover the writer’s journey from youth to Age, from sickness and opposition to praise and wonder.

Job’s words in chapter 19:23-24 is a cry for people to properly understand his situation and hope in God. His story is unique but his cry is a challenge to us all. We have a unique testimony, simple or complex, everyday stuff or strange which the Lord could use to witness to His power, grace and providence. If for no other reason have a record of His dealings in your life to hand onto your family and friends in the future. In a sense let the Lord’s engraving within you find expression on paper or disc for others to know.

Notice also the hope, confidence and longing of Job 19:25—29.

He knows his Redeemer lives. – How sure are you of your relationship with the risen Christ?

Job believes his Redeemer will set up His kingdom on earth. This is our position from the Lord’s Prayer.

Job knows he will die yet is convinced he will live beyond death and behold His Redeemer. 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.

Job had a desire which would see him through the tough times ahead. His heart yearns to be with his Redeemer. This is a hallmark of Christ’s followers too. I want to know Him! I want to serve Him! I want others to hear about Him! Most of all I want to see Him!

Until that day we are to live out what He has engraved within. Until that day we are to us our writing skills so the Lord can become the Potter of another’s life whose heart becomes clay. Then when the ‘Finger of God’ engraves His word onto their heart they will declare “I know my Redeemer lives!”

Ray Hawkins.
My latest devotional 'The Warrior Lord's Sword is now available in Christian bookshops or direct for me.

File/Devotional seminar – tahlee.


  1. Well said, Ray. I'm looking forward to getting into The Warrior Lord's Sword.


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