Hebrew text is written from right to left.

Why is that? The way language is written and read, or its “directionality,” was apparently established when those languages began to be inscribed and the first alphabets were created. Languages originating in the Middle East, such as Hebrew and Arabic, were first written where people used stone and clay tablets. Presumably, a right-to-left directionality made more sense for this method, assuming most people are right-handed (an estimated 90% of the world’s population). For stone, those early writers would have held the mallet with their left hand while chiseling letters with their right in a right-to-left direction. This same directionality would eventually carry over to clay and later to pen and ink on vellum and parchment.

It made good sense back then to start at the RIGHT.

In modern times since the development of the printing press, books written in Hebrew and Arabic may look odd to the readers of Latin-based languages (like English, French, and Spanish). They are bound on the RIGHT side—the back of the book in English is the front of the book in Hebrew.  In fact, people who READ from right to left often have a right-to-left sense of time—in other words, what comes FIRST is to the RIGHT.

Recently, a 40-foot portion of a Torah scroll was unfurled and put on display at the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. The promo explained, “The displayed scroll is unrolled to show the entire book of Genesis and a portion of Exodus. Since Hebrew text is read from right to left, don’t get confused when you see Genesis 1:1 on the RIGHT end of the display case.”

In the BEGINNING, GOD … ” (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

God came first. The story of the beginning of all things started with a righteous GOD—and nothing else. Right came first—and doing RIGHT should always come FIRST. In everything we do, it’s RIGHT to put GOD in the beginning. When you start your day, start RIGHT—talk to God. When you begin a project or a venture, start RIGHT—put your trust first in God. When you embark on a journey or a new relationship, start off on the RIGHT foot—consult God. When you begin a conversation, think first “what is RIGHT? What would Jesus say?”

Jesus desires to order our steps from the beginning, rather than to reroute us after we’ve gone the wrong way and made a disaster of our lives. God, who made us and wove every fiber of our DNA together, did so with purpose and a particular path in mind—for each and every one of us. His counsel is timeless, and His Word applies to every person in every culture in every language in every century. It always HAS—it always WILL. 

“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. (Proverbs 3:6 TLB)

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, You declared, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13 KJV) I want You to be FIRST in my life—the first and last WORD, the first and last VOICE, the first and last CHOICE in all that I do. Jesus, be the LORD of ALL the kingdoms of my heart. In Your RIGHTEOUS name, Jesus! Amen.


Barbara Hilderbrand and husband, Derrald, live in Wausau, Wisconsin. They’ve served in various ministerial roles within the UPCI over the past fifty years – pastoring in Illinois, Alaska, Wisconsin, and Global Missions’ Europe/ME region. Barb also served in Ladies Ministries in Alaska and Wisconsin. They now eagerly await their next assignment and/or the NEXT stamp on their passports. She also posts devotions and articles regularly on her website: BarbHilderbrand.com.

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