I discovered the secret of copying scripture during the long wait for my daughter’s adoption from Haiti to be completed. Somehow, I instinctively knew that the physical act of transcribing Words of Promise into my journals would soothe my anxious mind and comfort my broken heart. And so day after day, page after page, the words flowed from the cries and hopes of men who lived thousands of years before my time and into the deepest corners of my being.
I was delighted to discover yesterday that my habit of copying scripture is one God prescribed for the first kings of Israel in an effort to keep them from stumbling into the pitfalls that accompany wealth and power. In Deuteronomy 17, long before Israel ever rejected God in their asking for a human king, God launched a preemptive strike in an effort to protect His people from unjust rule. He began by telling them what kind of king to choose. Then He set forth a set of guidelines for the new king. The king was not to take “many wives” or accumulate excessive wealth. (Deuteronomy 17:17).
But then God says something interesting in verse 18. He wanted the king to have his own copy of God’s law and He wanted him to make the copy himself. (Deuteronomy 17:18).
Let’s get this straight. He was the king. He could undoubtedly order up a copy of the law, but God wanted it to be more intimate than that. He wanted the king’s scroll of the law to be one he painstakingly copied letter by letter with his own hand.
There is something powerful about copying the Word of God and there is solid biology behind it. Writing wakes up the Reticular Activating System of the brain (RAS). The RAS is responsible for filtering and cataloging all of the information and stimulus we encounter every day. It decides the importance of each piece of data. Really important moments are etched in stone. Lesser items go “in one ear and out the other”. But- the physical act of writing sends the message to the RAS that the current data being processed is just too good to miss, granting it the VIP treatment. (Is Writing Better than Typing? The Passive Voice.com)
The Creator, the designer of the RAS, knew this and so He gave the command that the king should keep the law near. He was to read it every single day…from a copy made by his own hand. How cool is that?