It was on this day in the year 1488 that the first printed edition of the Tanach, that is the Torah, the Prophets and the different Hebrew writings, was printed in Soncino, Italy. This occurred in a time when other key events were taking place or were about to take place. This is just four years before Columbus sails into history and discovers what would become known as the New World. This was an age of discovery in many ways, not the least of which was God was putting His word into the hands of countless scores of people.
While we should certainly be thankful to the Creator to ensure that His word was available to us to read and to recite, we should also be looking forward to the day when He goes a step forward in this process, as described by the prophet Jeremiah.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Through the prophet, Ezekiel, God announced a very similar promise, prophesying of a day when our stony hearts would be replaced by hearts of flesh. Saying further, that we would be filled with His Spirit, and that we would learn to walk according to His instructions and ordinances. You have to admit, it’s one thing to be able to recite Scripture from memory, but it’s another thing entirely to live by the Scriptures because they are in your heart. The Psalmist told us:
“With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:10-12)
This Scripture seems to imply that one could hide His word in our mind, in our memory and in our analyzation but still sin against Him. It is imperative that His word be part of us, that it be internalized, buried deep within our hearts in order that we don’t sin against Him. I believe this will be very crucial in the days ahead as we are faced with increasingly difficult situations and circumstances, all of which are designed to prove what is in our heart. Consider the words of Moses as he admonished the people of Israel just as they were preparing to enter the land of Canaan:
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
May it be our prayer today, that His Word is buried deep within our heart and that we allow it to do its work in our life. May this day be filled with manna from above and may we may learn to be content with those things He wants for us, that our hearts may be proved. May it be that He purifies our inner man that He may fill us with His Word and His Spirit.