Thought for the Month- January 2017
In one sense there is nothing new about New Year’s Day. If you take a look at Bible history you’ll find that it was mentioned over 4,000 years ago in Genesis 8.13, the day when Noah looked out of the Ark and saw that “the face of the ground was dry”. They were saved!
Come down through the centuries and we read that Moses had been given from God a plan of the Tabernacle, the place where He would dwell among His people (Ex 25.8). It wasn’t long before this structure was ready to be set up, and this took place on what we would call New Year’s Day (Ex 40.17). They would have the presence of God with them from thenceforth. What about us? Remember the word of Scripture that shows us that the Lord is present with us as companies gathered to His Name (Mt 18.20), and in us as believers (Jn 14.23; 2 Cor 13.5; Col 1.27). What wonderful privileges we have!
One blessing the Israelites in the wilderness knew in a special way was the grace of God. Despite their murmuring, sinning and disobedience they experienced His grace in providing for them. We can say the same in an even deeper way for it is by grace we are saved (Eph 2.5,8), justified (Titus 3.7), accepted (Eph 1.6), and succoured (Heb 4.16). We can all look back over time and remember that all this has been our experience. For our part, in this new year to come let us “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3.18).
But, to go back to Israel, that New Year’s Day they were also given instruction and assurance. They were about to embark on a long journey through a trackless wilderness. No need for them to consult maps and compasses, for they had the pledge of the divine Guide as God gave them instructions about their movements as directed by the cloud over the Tabernacle.
Once again, that which applied to Israel applies also to us – in our case we have the Word of God; we have the presence of our Lord Jesus who is with us all the way; and we have the Holy Spirit who indwells us.
We have been led to repentance (Rom 2.4); and are guided into all truth (Jn 16.13). In view of the spiritual wilderness in which we now live, is it not incumbent on all of us in the days to come to seek the leading and guidance of the Lord in every aspect of our lives?
As we seek to live for the Lord, may we be conscious of God’s grace, appreciative of His goodness, and be found seeking “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12.2).
Our prayer is that in this new year, “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num 6.24-26).