Letter

From Jim O'Brien
July 27, 2018

Hi Friend,

He Signed It

One of the things parents think about as they grow older is what's going to happen to their "stuff" after they are gone. An inheritance is a blessing. Solomon wrote that a wise man leaves something for his grandchildren. So it is that Donna and I spent an afternoon in the office of an attorney updating our will.

There were a series of documents that passed back and forth over a few weeks until the final iteration was completed. We sat across the desk from the attorney who had become a friend over this period of time, as he passed the completed form to us and called his secretary to witness our signatures. It wasn't official until it was signed. Until then it was a paper with words that had no power. Putting our hands to that document represented what will happen to every bit of wealth we will have accumulated by the time we leave this mortal realm.

The force of this came to mind as I was reading the account of Moses receiving the tablets of stone from God containing the Ten Commandments. The phase that struck me was "...written with the finger of God." (Exodus 31:18) As I read this out loud to Donna she remarked in the same voice she used when teaching history class, "It is just like our will. His handwriting made it legal."

The movie "National Treasures" contains a fascinating plot revolving around the theft of the Declaration of Independence. The inescapable point is that our nation places an extremely high value on documents that are the cornerstone of our civilization. They are placed behind bulletproof glass, surrounded by armed guards and protected by sophisticated electronic equipment.

At the bottom of the Declaration of Independence are the handwritten signatures of our founding fathers. This document had absolutely no value until it was signed, after which all of the words in the manuscript became the words of those who put pen to paper. We say our nation had its birth when the signatures of these fifty-six men were penned to that document.

Many Americans make a pilgrimage to the national capitol to view these documents. They want their children and grandchildren to see THE piece of parchment that made us a nation!

Looking on the actual signatures on the Declaration of Independence I could only imagine what it must have been like for the High Priest of Israel to see the handwriting of God on tablets of stone. This wasn't something written by a man-it was written by the finger of God! From the time of Moses until the time Solomon's Temple was destroyed the Ark of the Covenant was approached by the High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement. A mere human could enter the room containing a document written by God-the words that established the foundation of justice for the Kingdom of God. What went through the mind of the High Priest as he viewed this unique tablet?

Even today, many homes display an icon representing these tablets giving testimony that they remain the foundation of the Christian ethos. The Supreme Court Building has such an engraving over the rear entrance testifying that the system of justice in our country rests on what was written by the finger of God.

A fascinating sequel to all this may yet occur. Those two tablets of stone still exist somewhere on this earth-maybe hidden away in a cave like the Dead Sea Scrolls-just waiting for an unsuspecting explorer. Movies have made millions of dollars built on the speculation that someone might find the Ark of the Covenant. Who knows? Maybe one day such a thing will happen.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien