An Undelivered Message

November 12, 2020
Volume 24, Number 41

A couple hiking near Ingersheim, a town in the Alsace region of France, recently found a small metal cylinder partially buried. They opened it and found a thin piece of paper with handwriting. It was dated 1910, but they couldn’t read the writing.

A nearby museum consulted with others who know German, and learned that the paper described a drill that was being conducted by Prussian troops. The message was apparently put into the metal cylinder and then attached to a carrier pigeon to be “mailed” to officers at another location.

Carrier pigeons were frequently used during wartime operations as a way of quickly relaying information. The article in the New York Times from November 9, 2020 noted that several pigeons would be dispatched with the same message to ensure it was received. In this case the cylinder must have slipped off the pigeon, and lay undiscovered for 110 years.

Undelivered messages can be serious matters. Had this message from 1910 been a matter of moving troops into position or retreating to another location, lives might have been lost. When payment on a bill is lost in the mail, serious consequences may follow.

In the Bible we read of a message that was not received; in this case the message was from heaven! King Josiah of Judah had ordered repairs to be made to the temple of God. Past years of idolatry had caused the temple to be neglected. Josiah ordered workers “to repair the damages of the house” (2 Kings 22:5).

As repairs were being made, a discovery was made: the Book of the Law of God. The book was brought to King Josiah, and read to him. “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes” (2 Kings 22:11). He realized that God’s commands had been ignored for many years, and that the kingdom must be in great jeopardy. He immediately launched an effort to restore true worship.

Sometimes the words of God are not received, even though the Book is lying there on the coffee table. Jeremiah faced this apathetic spirit in his day: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.'” (Jeremiah 6:16). The people had God’s word before them; they just didn’t want it.

What about you and me; have we received God’s message? “Therefore … receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). The message from heaven has been delivered. Have we received it?

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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