Each New Year brings with it all sorts of good intentions for changing this or that in our lives. We resolve to eat healthier, save more money, exercise, take up a new hobby, get rid of a bad habit… the list goes on and on.
But why? Why do we make these resolutions? Because we want to be better, that’s why. We see the beginning of each year as a chance to start fresh. Sadly, though, statistics show that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them. The reasons for slacking off vary, but basically it all boils down to a lack of commitment.
If you are part of the 92% who have trouble making good on your resolutions, what would you say if I told you 2017 could be the year to change all of that? It can be if you allow the Word of God to sink in and keep you focused on making this new beginning a genuine start to a new and better you.
We’re going to take a brief look at three people (or groups of people) in the Bible who experienced a new beginning. Two of them were successful. One was not. We’ll look at what made the difference in the hope it will help you make a new beginning that counts.
The Old Testament book of Job tells us that Job was an extremely wealthy, wise, and highly respected man. Yet Satan tried to drag Job away from God, and everything Job owned was ripped away by natural disasters and criminals. Not only that, everyone in Job’s family except his wife died.
Job didn’t have a clue as to why this was happening to him. And when his body was suddenly covered in boils, blisters, and oozing sores, thanks to further attempts from Satan, he was really confused. And miserable.
Through all of the physical and emotional pain and suffering, however, Job remained faithful to God. He questioned why. He begged for mercy. He even wished he’d never been born. But through it all he never forgot that all he had was God’s to give or to take away.
Because of Job’s faithfulness God gave Job a new beginning. He gave Job even more wealth than he had before. He gave Job and Mrs. Job more children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Job accepted God’s new beginning for him with a heart of thanksgiving, honoring God in all he did for the rest of his life.
Would you be able to do the same?
2. Joseph and his brothers
Joseph was a teenage boy full of vim and vigor, and, quite honestly, it appears he was a bit of a show-off. His older brothers resented Joseph for being their dad’s favorite. But this didn’t stop Joseph from telling them he would someday rule over them and showing off his fancy coat.
In Genesis we see that Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery—an act that resulted in Joseph essentially being the ruler of all of Egypt. After being a shepherd then a slave, becoming a ruler was definitely a new beginning for Joseph. It was a new beginning in which he honored God in all he did for the remainder of his life.
Joseph’s brothers also got a new beginning when they were forced to go to Egypt to buy food. Little did they know they were putting themselves at the mercy of Joseph—the brother they’d sold and lied to their father about. When the truth came out, Joseph’s love for his family and his forgiving heart allowed his brothers to have a fresh start at being a family.
God was honored in both situations because their new beginnings were accepted and lived out with gratitude and humility.
Would you be able to do the same?
3. The Israelites
After Joseph and all his brothers died, their descendants, who were the Israelites, continued to increase and prosper. This scared the Pharaohs that came after Joseph, causing them to force the Israelites into slavery.
After several hundred years of Israelite slavery, God sent Moses to rescue the Israelites and take them to the Promised Land. Talk about a new beginning! But as we see, time and time and time again throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites didn’t make very good use of their new beginning. They even told Moses they had been better off as slaves!
God tried a number of ways to help the Israelites see and understand what a precious gift they had been given. Unfortunately, most were blinded by idolatry, greed, fear, and all sorts of other sinful attitudes. As a result, their new beginning ended up being a beginning of more pain, more suffering, and continued distance from God.
Are you doing the same?
What will you do with your new beginning?
Any day you choose to start over is a day God will grant you a new beginning, but because we are starting a New Year, why not make the start of 2017 the start of an even closer, more intimate relationship with God?
~ By Darla Noble