Water lapped the sides of the ship as it docked in England’s busiest port. Fog had settled in nicely with the darkness to provide a murky blanket of cover. And cover was what they needed.
“Roll main sail! Drop anchor!”
Sailors bustled over deck and pier to bring the great hull of the ship safely into position for unloading. Though few of the men knew it, the cargo they brought to English shores this night was priceless—more precious even than gold.
In short order the sailors had dozens of barrels of wheat stacked onto the pier. A normal voyage and a normal cargo ought to bring little attention from the authorities. But agents of Henry VIII, king of England, were likely to be close at hand when foreign banners blew into the coasts of his majesty’s realm. The mist of nightfall might at least give them some extra time.
“All accounted for, sir,” reported the secretary of goods from the pier below. The captain of the ship nodded his approval and gazed into the murky haze. Fog hid ships—and inspectors. He held his breath, for indeed, out of the gloom emerged two agents of the king. Obligingly the secretary gave the men his ledger. The inspectors opened one barrel, another, and then another. All wheat. Life-giving, basic, bread-making wheat. Finally satisfied, the officers disappeared into the fog.
The secretary could not help but smile as he saluted his captain from the pier. The captain, too, was clearly relieved. Barrels stacked on the right were marked for wheat. So were barrels on the left—except for one small extra line beneath each mark. The inspectors had only opened barrels on the right.
Without delay the barrels with the extra mark were brought to a warehouse at the edge of the shipyard. Hurriedly opened, the wheat was spilled onto the floor. But along with the wheat came something else—real life-giving Bread. The Bible in England’s own tongue!
More barrels and Bibles would slip through this port, using not only wheat for cover, but also imports such as cotton and wine. More Englishmen would read the Word of God for the very first time in their lives. And more men would be burned at the stake for owning such precious pages.
But where were these Bibles coming from? Who dared to translate and print them? Someone who loved England dearly. Someone who loved the Word of God more than his own life. Indeed, someone who was in grave danger of losing it even now…
What makes the simple wise, rejoices the heart, endures forever, and is more desirable than gold as well as sweeter than honey? Read Psalm 19:7-10 to find out!