Summary: Dealing with the constant need to face ’A New Beginning’ with God. A special time is at the New Year, but at all times we can start afresh as the Lord challenges us.
A NEW BEGINNING
For our mediation this morning, I want to look at the thought of ‘A NEW BEGINNING’. You will see the connection with the time of year, as we approach what can be thought of as a new beginning. There is a line of reasoning that time continues on from one day to the next, but within that continuum, there are times when we face the opportunity for ‘A NEW BEGINNING’. In my own experience I have faced a number of doors to ‘begin again’. I am not speaking of becoming a Christian again, for I was born again many years ago, but there are periods in our lives when we are faced with new challenges, as the Lord opens another door of opportunity, or confronts us regarding the level of our commitment to Him.
To help us focus our thoughts we will look at Exodus 12:1-17, where we have the account of the preparation for the major event in the life of the nation of Israel, an event that is still commemorated annually. We can view this as simply an historical event, or we can seek to learn from the experience of God’s people, and apply what we learn to our lives today, and so help ourselves as we go forward in life. While we will not deal with this passage in great depth, I trust that we shall see some guiding principles for ourselves.
Please see that we start with an important matter, for we have
1. A PARTICULAR INSTRUCTION
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month
It was the Lord who spoke to Moses and Aaron, and very clearly stated that what He was about to say was relevant for that time – ‘this month’. Here was an instruction that required an action, right then! This could not be put off. It reminds me of the words of Joshua to the nation many years later
Joshua 24:15 choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." [NIV]
Joshua called the nation to a decision, and he asked for it ‘this day’! My observation of Christians in general, is that most will recognise a challenge when it faces them, but not too many will give an immediate response to the challenge. The problem then arises that as time passes, so does the urgency of the challenge, and we can be guilty simply of neglecting to respond. Not rejecting, simply neglecting!
This is something we cannot pass-on to others, but we need to do this for ourselves. It has
2. A PERSONAL IMPLICATION
2 “This month is to be for you the first month,
I am sure that you will agree that it is easy to know what other people should do! But this was to be personal, and present. ‘For you’.
To have a personal relationship with the Lord is beyond valuation. To be aware that the Lord has us in mind constantly is incredible. The reason that there was to be a new beginning was that the Lord had something special lined up for the nation – they were about to be set free from bondage, and commence the journey to the promised land! What amazes me is that the Lord cares for the individual! See what David says;
Psalm 40:17 As for me I am poor and needy, yet the Lord takes thought and plans for me. You are my Help and my Deliverer. [Amp]
Let me stress the need for a personal response to the challenge of the Lord. Remember what Joshua said to the people,
Joshua 24:15 as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD
Has the Lord something special in store for you? Is it possible that ‘This month is to be for you the first month’? You will remember that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Moses had listened. Have we heard the Lord speaking to us? This is where it starts.
The event that was about to take place was so important that it had to be marked in a special way, there was to be
3. A PRECISE INAUGURATION
It was to be
the first month of your year. (the beginning of months [Holman] )
The actual word used here shows that it was used in a special way.
BEGINNING: be-gin’-ing (re’-shith; arche):
The natural meaning of the word is with reference to time. . . . It is used also to express the inauguration of a particular event (#Ex 12:2).
Their calendar was changed as a result of this happening! They were about to be set free from slavery – the promise made to their fore-father Abraham was to see fulfilment at last. This was to be an event that was to be marked by something that they would remember in the coming generations. Can you imagine the consequences if they had chosen to stay as they were? Still in slavery at best; or even being killed by the Egyptian soldiers as a pay-back for the Divine judgement of the plagues.