The Beginning of the Year
The phrase, “the beginning of the year”, appears only twice in the Bible. The first, found in Deuteronomy 11:12, caught my attention. The Lord through Moses, is speaking of the promised land. In verse 11, God is promising great blessing on the land and its people if they obeyed Him, but judgment if they disobeyed.
Although these promises were made to Israel, the principle surely would apply to us, for God “hath made of one blood all nations of men… and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord” (Acts 17:26-27). It certainly has applied to America, for God has certainly blessed our nation most abundantly, founded as it was in its beginnings on the principles of God’s words. Sadly, however, there are now many signs that His blessings are being withdrawn, with judgment imminent, because of the widespread apostasy (abandonment of our faith in God) and moral decay that is so prevalent in our failing culture. (Days of Praise Jan 1, 2014)
Here, at “the beginning of the year”, we can decide what action(s) we, individually and collectively, will take to return to the God of our fathers before it is too late. In the words of Deut. 11:12, “the eyes of the Lord are on us, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” Many of us are also familiar with Joshua 24:15 where Joshua proclaims, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” How will we as men lead as God has ordained? Deut. 6:6-7, Eph.5:22-33.
“In addition to prayer, we personally can work, give and live in ways that demonstrate our own personal trust in God and His Word, as well as minister to the deep concern for our families, our churches, our nation, and God’s eternal plan for His great creation”. (Days of Praise Jan.1,2014)
I was blessed, and I’m sure you will be, by reading Deut. 11:10-17 then pausing to reflect how it applies to our individual lives. After a time of reflection continue on to verses 18-28. Pausing again, what is God asking us to do for our good and that of our families? What promises is He making to each of us out of His great love?
No new year resolutions offered here, just a restated breath of refreshing truth. Christ, the center and heart of the Bible, the center and heart of History, is the center and heart of our Lives. Our eternal destiny is in His hand. Our Acceptance, or Rejection, of Him, determines, for each of us, Eternal Glory, or Eternal Ruin; Heaven, or Hell; one, or the other.
“The Most Important Decision any one is ever called on to make is to Settle, in his heart, once for all, the matter of his Attitude toward Christ. On that depends Everything!” (Halley Bible Handbook)
It is a glorious thing to be a Christ Follower, the most exalted privilege of mankind. To accept Christ as Savior, Lord, and Master and to strive Sincerely, Devotedly and Intentionally to Follow in the Way of Life which He taught, is certainly, and by far, the most reasonable, and most satisfactory way to live. I am reminded of His words when asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:36-40) It means Peace, Peace of Mind, Contentment of Heart, Forgiveness, Happiness, Hope, Life, Life Here and Now, Life Abundant, LIFE THAT SHALL NEVER END.
May the Life and Words of Christ teach us the Way, and may the proclamation of Joshua be proclaimed and lived out by each of us “from the beginning of this year even unto the end of the year.” May it be so!