Tuesday of Pentecost 25 – Daniel 12:1-3

1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

The ambulance had left, and the tow trucks were starting to grapple with the wrecked carcasses of the autos involved. On the sidewalk stood a police officer talking to a woman. He had a little notebook in his hand. She spoke, gestured with her hands, he followed her gesture with his own eyes and wrote something more into the little book. This went on for a while. I had come across this scene while driving myself and watched while I awaited another officer to motion us through the partially blocked intersection.

The scene was something you might find in any city on a given day. There was an accident report to be filed, insurance claims would undoubtedly be filed as well. Knowing just what had happened was important, hence the officer talking to the woman who had witnessed the accident. I wondered what he wrote in that little notebook and how it would be used.

When Daniel wrote these words he was residing in the massive and complex Persian empire. It stretched from modern Turkey all the way to the borders of Pakistan and India today. One of the chief concerns was the collection of taxes. As always, the government wanted to make sure everyone had paid. The citizen wanted to make sure that the government knew that he had paid his taxes. So, they wrote it down. No one would forget. Just like that officer who had probably seen a hundred or more similar accidents in his career, needed to keep the details of this one straight. So, he wrote it down. Daniel says that God, whose memory never fails, has a book in which are written the names of the people to be delivered. That book contains your name. It was written there on the day of your baptism. God does not need a book, but you need to know that your name will never be forgotten, even if you lie in a grave for centuries and your body turns to dust, forgotten by everyone else. God will never forget you. When the day comes for those who sleep in the dust of the earth to awake, God will call your name. You will answer because His Word, His call, means life. He won’t forget. He even has it written down.

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