Bitcoin(s) are up; books are down. Trends are troubling, but they don’t care about our feelings. The rise of literacy has no direct effect on the number of readers. The fact that one can read does not mean that one does read. The stats are telling: one-third of high school graduates never read another book while 42% of college graduates finish their reading at graduation. Eighty percent of families in America did not buy or read a book last year.
But we’re dependent on books to understand life. Many of our most important idioms are based on them: Bookworm. Hit the Books. Do it by the book. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Throw the book at him. Took the page out of his book. Try every trick in the book. His nose is in a book. Read her like a book. We talk about them constantly – and we refer to them incessantly – but they seem to have lost their place in a modern digital world.
Solomon was David’s son by Bathsheba; their sordid relationship resulted in the son who would succeed David on Israel’s throne. He held the title as “wisest man in all history,” but he didn’t come by that wisdom through reading; rather, by revelation. Near the end of his life, Solomon – author of three books included in the inspired Scriptures – observed: “Of making many books there is no end.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). We know about Writer’s Cramp; Solomon reported that he had Reader’s Cramp. And that was before self-publishing exacerbated the problem…
Daniel was another noted author in Israel’s history. The book bearing his name is half autobiography; the rest is prophetic insight about the future, much of which is still awaiting fulfillment. This is one of the still-to-come pictures offered by Daniel: “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” (7:9-10).
John – the Beloved, not the Baptist – saw the same future phenomenon; he cited it in his book, The Revelation: “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” (20:11-12).
All of the books on your shelves will be gone (except your Bible) when the books that matter most to God become the essential non-fiction biographies that tell the consequential stories.
At the last scene of “Time,” before “Eternity” becomes the new era… the Judgement of God is somehow focused on “books.” What are they?
There are two books that tell the story of your life; the only books that will bear witness in your transition from this life to the next. God is the author of one; you are the author of the other. What’s in those two books will determine your entire eternity…
What are those two books??
In the next couple of Mondays, we’re going to pull them out of the vault – and, off the shelf – to get a look at what they are and why that matters.
In fact, when you understand that, the rest of your life story will become even more critical to consider in planning and living your days, from now until your moment in front of that throne…