“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16.
The Bible is God’s Book. Therein we find that God also keeps several other books which serve either as registers or memory books. These books have detailed records of people’s names – from their conception to birth as well as their times and works on earth. We shall look at four of the books that are critical to our lives on earth.
THE BOOK OF PURPOSE
Purpose is the reason for which something exists or is made. No matter how you came into this world, you are not an accident! Before your birth, God already had you in His mind. Everything about you is like an open book before God. David said: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16 NLT). God has the book of your purpose on earth (Psalm 139:13-18 MSG). This book has the detailed blueprint of your life: DNA, potential and destiny.
The potentials we each have are already written in this book. “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” (Ephesians 2:10. AMP). Your life is like an unfolding book. No one knows what chapter in your book that you are in right now! That’s why nobody should write you off unless they know the eventual outcome of their life.
Jesus’ life on earth is our example. Everything about Him had been written and He lived out everything that was written about Him. The writer of Hebrews captured it this way: “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me -To do Your will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:7). His life was always in sync with heaven’s agenda.
David accomplished what God had written concerning him. “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.” Acts 13:36 NIV. Like Jeremiah, Paul understood that God had known him from his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15). He lived with the consciousness that his life had a purpose and didn’t let anyone derail him from his it (Acts 20:24). By the time his life neared the end, he knew that he had accomplished God’s purpose for his life (2 Timothy 4:7).
The challenge for us is: how can the life we live here on earth conform to that which has been written about us in our book of destiny? We know that God’s plans are always God. As He spoke concerning Israel: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). Our prayer for ourselves and intercession for others should be to walk in the fullness of what God has written concerning us. When our lives match up with what God has written, we become people of purpose.
While it is true that our purpose was pre-determined, the moral choices we make are purely our own. Often, what makes the difference between people are the choices they make.
THE BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
God also keeps a book of remembrance. “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.” (Malachi 3:16). God keeps record of those who speak well about Him. The backdrop was that while others were complaining and accusing God of being unfair and unjust (Malachi 3:13-15) these ones rather spoke well about God and He took note of them. Like the two thieves on the Cross. (Luke 23:39-43).
It is not uncommon these days for people, especially comedians, to make God and sacred things the butt of their jokes. Some of these circulate on social media and even Christians share these irreverent jokes. Those who fear, reverence, honour and respect God will not participate in such sacrilege. God takes note of what we say about Him.
God is keeping a memory book of those who genuinely serve Him and in due time He will make a difference in their circumstances. If earthly kings remember and reward loyal servants, how much more God! (Esther 6:1-2). God sees what is done in secret and will reward His people in due season (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). Cornelius probably did not know that God was taking note of his piety and almsgiving but in due time God remembered him (Acts 10:1-4. Also see Proverbs 19:17).
It is good to be remembered for good, for something that is positive. Nehemiah prayed: “… Remember me, O my God, for good!” (Nehemiah 13:31b). There is a reward coming, when the time is right, God will open His book of remembrance and visit you. Let us continue to accumulate credit in our heavenly account.
THE BOOK OF TEARS
This book is probably the least popular of all the books. David said: “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” (Psalm 56:8). David was referring to an ancient practice in the Middle East where a wife saved up in a bottle the tears she shed when her husband was sent on a dangerous military assignment. On his return, the bottle was handed over to him as a token of her love. David was asking God to store his tears in His bottle. David was a man who suffered much and shed many tears, but he knew that his tears were not in vain, God had a record of them.
Suffering is an almost inevitable part of human life. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33). When we suffer for the sake of our faith and the kingdom; when we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness; when we shed tears in intercession for souls and for the spread of the gospel; God takes note of it. He has it documented in His book. One day, every tear we have shed for the sake of the kingdom will be worth the investment.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
There are books, but there is the ultimate book, The Book of Life. “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books … And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-12, 15).
The first hint about this book was when Moses interceded for the children of Israel (Exodus 32:31-32). Subsequently, we find references to it both in the Old and New Testaments (Psalm 69:8; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3 etc). When the disciples returned from their mission trip and told Jesus about their experience on the field, Jesus said to them: “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20). Jesus was telling them that the main cause of joy for a believer should be that his name is written in God’s book of life.
A person can have his name in the church register but not in the Book of Life (Hebrews 12:23). Only those who have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb have their names written in this Book.
There is a lot of argument whether a person’s name can be deleted from this book after it has been written there. It is better to err on the side of caution! Let us pay attention to God’s reply to Moses: “And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” (Exodus 32:33); and Jesus’ message to the church at Sardis: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5). May we not become so engrossed with the things of this life that we lose sight of eternity; let’s not gamble with our hereafter!
It is gratifying to know that God has created us with a purpose. We are here on assignment. While some people seek God and discover why they are on earth and pursue God’s agenda, others just coast along the flow of life. Our lifetime affords us opportunity to invest into eternity. While we receive a lot of reward here on earth, what is awaiting us in heaven is far greater. That is why we must live as people who have their names in God’s book.