Thy Word Have I Hid

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Years ago a traveling exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls came across the nation. Maybe you saw this exhibit when it came to Charlotte. I heard a story this week about the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls that moved me and I want to share today.

In the mid-1940s Bedouin shepherds, which are shepherds that lived out in the wilderness, were out tending their sheep and goats and one of their goats went into a cave. Before a Bedouin shepherd would ever go into a cave, they would throw a rock in there to be sure there wasn’t some kind of wild creature inside that would attack them. So they threw the rock and heard what sounded like the breaking of glass or pottery. One of the Bettuans went in the cave and found a set of clay jars lining the side of the cave. When they looked in them, tucked inside each one were leather strips that had writing on them. They were so excited because they had made this great find but they didn’t know what to do with them initially. They hung them in their tents and brought them out occasionally to show others in their families. Eventually, they took them to an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem but the dealer feared that they were stolen from the synagogue so he sent them away telling them they were worthless. They went to another dealer, a Syrian Christian, who offered to buy them.

Thankfully that is where they took them because it ended up that these were parts of scrolls and the writing was the actual writings of Essene priests who in fear of the persecution of the Romans went to this little place and hid these scrolls so that they would not be destroyed by the Romans.

—-

Don’t you love that our Lord did NOT have these to be discovered by Biblical scholars or theologians or archaeologists but they were discovered by what I think is one of His most favorite professions – a shepherd? Because so many of those He used greatly in the Bible and throughout history and even today spent time as shepherds and had a humble shepherd’s hearts.

—-

After the initial discovery from 1946-1956, 981 different texts were found in 11 different caves in the West Bank. These texts were the remains of between 825 to 870 separate scrolls. Not all the scrolls were Scripture. Some were community rules books and commentaries. BUT of the scrolls found there were fragments of every book of the Old Testament except Esther. 25 copies of Deuteronomy; 30 copies of Psalms; 19 copies of Isaiah –The longest scroll found was 26.7 feet and it was a TEMPLE scroll. They were made mostly of animal skins, papyrus, and copper and were written with carbon based inks. The book of Isaiah was the only scroll that was completely intact. And that intact scroll was 1000 years older than any other known copy.

If you go online and look at the images of the exhibits of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibits they had fragments in glass cases along with the translations of them. Those translations are incredibly similar to what you and I hold when we hold our BIBLES. Part of the exhibit regarding Isaiah also contained Luke 4:16-21:

And HE (He being Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias (this would have been a scroll at that time). And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

You can’t help but wonder if the scrolls that you see in the pictures of this exhibit is the scroll that Jesus Himself held in His hand that day. There are some scholars that believe that is the case.

But whether they are or not we don’t know. We do know that these scrolls are not just ANTIQUES; they are ANCIENT. And that moves me. It also moves me to think that these Words on these scrolls are God-breathed words, that were breathed into these men who wrote and that these men loved the Lord and His Word so much that they wrote each and everything as led by the Holy Spirit and they wrote them all so carefully. And revered them so much that they would when led by the Holy Ghost go and hide them.

When we hold this Bible in our hand, we can’t forget how long ago it was written, how it was written, and that these are HOLY Words. They are UNCHANGING WORDS. They are ETERNAL WORDS. They are not to be added to or taken away from…not in content but also not in our hearts!!! If the Word says it that needs to settle it for our hearts
whether we understand totally or not…because one day we will understand.

And I feel like the Lord wants me to say today – The Essene priests hid these scrolls because of persecution that they were facing by the Romans and because they feared the scrolls would be destroyed. Just as the Romans hated the Jews and Christians, we as Christians are becoming increasingly hated and under fire today even in our own country. The Lord says in Psalm 119:11, Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Hide His Words in your heart!!! That is something He tells us over and over in His Word and is crucial in these days. Be led by His Holy Spirit even as these priests were led to getting it into your heart and do with it as He leads – speak it, write it out, hide it away. He will lead you and He will empower you. Put them in your heart and if called to do so, be it tomorrow or 10 years from now, be prepared that if He directs you to, hide the scriptures in the natural to preserve them. Don’t think it is a strange request!

But also hide His Word in your hearts to give you strength and to empower you in these days and so you don’t fall prey to the spirit of fear. I want to end with two short readings from that Book of Isaiah that were written on those scrolls.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Because I Breathe…

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction;
Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as heaven is high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far hath He removed our transgressions from us.

For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone;
And the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting…

Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great;
Thou art clothes with honour and majesty.
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment:
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters:
Who maketh the clouds His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Who maketh His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire:
Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.
Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment:

The glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in His works.
He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
My meditation of Him shall be sweet…

Praise ye the Lord
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights.
Praise ye Him, all His angles: praise ye Him, all His hosts.
Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created.

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling His word:
Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary:
Praise Him in the firmament of His power.
Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance:
Praise Him with the stringed instrument and organs.
Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals.
LET EVERYTHING THAT HATH BREATH PRAISE THE LORD!!!

(Psalms 103:1-17; 104:1-6, 31-34; 148:1-5, 7-13; 150:1-6)