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Chinese Whispers

Posted by Sherman Chau on

You’ve probably played Chinese Whispers before: someone whispers a message to the person next to them and so on down a line. The last person says the message out loud and everyone hears how accurate or hilariously wrong it is compared to the original. 

(Is this game called Gweilo Whispers when it’s played in China? Why are Chinese linked to a game about distorting a message? And don’t even get me started on the “Chinese Fire Drill.”)

Anyway, the essence of the game is that the longer the line of people and the more complex the message, the greater the chance of error. 

Which makes the accuracy of the Bible a miracle in and of itself. What we read today is a document that has been painstakingly transcribed and translated throughout over two millenia and yet remained faithful and accurate to its oldest versions. Take, for example, the Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulets. These are silver foil scrolls, on which were written the “Aaronic blessing” in Numbers 6:24-26.

They were discovered in 1979 and date back to around 600 BC which makes them the oldest portions of the Bible that have been discovered. Our modern version is accurate when compared to it. The words we read today are virtually the same (a different language, of course) as this scroll that was written 2,600 years ago! This must be the longest running, most successful game of Chinese Whispers. It is God’s message, given to Moses, preserved by scribes, prophets, martyrs; protected by rabbis, priests, pastors; and passed on by evangelists, missionaries, family members, friends, and complete strangers through centuries to us today to read in our heart language.

The Inspired Exhibit at St. Andrew’s Church is an amazing celebration of Jesus’ words in Mark 13:31: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Don’t miss your chance to see this. It’s awe-inspiring to realise the lengths and efforts that people have gone through to preserve God’s word so that it can be passed on and shared with others.

As I mentioned earlier, the blessing in Numbers 6:22-26 on the Silver Amulets is an amazing example of this.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you; 
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

What does this blessing mean to you today?

In what areas of your life do you need grace or peace?

Reflect on the fact that this blessing was spoken by God long ago and has been passed on perfectly to you today in a divine whisper. 

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