Bottles and Books

“Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book” (Psalm 56:8)

Tears.  That liquid that so easily flows from our eyes, down our cheeks, and onto whatever catches the flow.  Sometimes those tears are the result of laughter that tickles our funny bone.  At other times they are the result of pain and sorrow that boars so deep into our soul, we think it can’t be touched.  Someone did some research and has concluded that the average person cries 30 to 64 times a year.  Don’t know how true that is.  I would have to say for myself that it depends on what kind of a year it is. 

According to scripture, I get the impression that the tears God focuses on are the ones that pour out of us as a result of pain and sorrow in our life.  I’m sure he delights when we laugh ourselves into tears, but he takes special notice to our weeping that is filled with pain and grief.  These are the tears that are most important to him.  In fact, they are so important to God that he keeps a record of them.  Psalm 56:8 informs us that God does two things with our tears.  One, he places them in a bottle.  Most likely a Hebrew nod, a leather bottle or skin, used to hold liquids such as wine or milk.  I have an image in my mind of God scooping up each emotional sob and carefully dropping them one by one into a special bottle that has our name written on it.  But the second thing we are told in Psalm 56 is that God keeps count of every tear in a book.  That book in the Hebrew is called a sefer, also made from a leather skin.  A sefer was a kind of a journal that a scribe would record important events in.  This gives us an image of God as a celestial scribe, making marks in his scroll of compassion, tallying up the liquid form of our pain. 

Whether God inks our tears onto his leather scroll or bottles them in a leather bottle, the message to us is very significant and comforting.  Our God is so full of love and compassion toward us that not one tiny drop of our liquidized pain passes by him unnoticed.  Jesus even added to that by telling us in Matthew 10:30 that, “even the hairs on our head are all numbered.”  You and I are never and will never be mere objects or insignificant numbers to God.  Each of us is minutely known and individually loved.  So much so that God has shelves and shelves of bottles and books in heaven that are written about each one of us.  Chew on that awhile the next time you think God doesn’t care about you.