Time for New Beginnings
In a few days students will begin school. Some students will begin the new school year as they return to a familiar building, but to a new classroom. Others will start something new; going to school for the very first time. While the new school year is only days away, the anxiety about going to a new school, or to a new classroom is rapidly growing. Nervousness about the situation intensifies along with the mounting uncertainties about the class, the teacher, the students, the expectations. Sometimes it is easy to live in the past. We feel comfortable there. It is familiar. We know the daily routine.
The ancient Israelites were going through the same thing. They had become comfortable with their daily routine. Then GOD told them to move on.
In the Old Testament book of book of Deuteronomy, the Israelites were settled in. They felt safe. They were comfortable. Nestled in after GOD rescued them from Egypt and delivered them from slavery, the area felt familiar and comfortable, like living in a house where you can walk around at night without stubbing your toes with no lights on. But, parked at the foot of the mountain, just east of the Jordan River, Moses said:
“Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers-to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-and to their descendants after them.”
At this time in history, the people of Israel were in a safe place. God had rescued them from a life of slavery and humiliation. GOD rescued them by miraculously bringing them through the Red Sea. And now, living comfortably, GOD is speaking to them to move on.
Through the voice of Moses, God says break camp — move on — there is more. God had a new future for them. God has a new future for us.
Whether we are moving to a new place like the Israelites, or going to a new school or starting a new job GOD has a new future for us.
The Bible declares, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
GOD is all about new beginnings. HE is with the student walking into class and the first year teacher anxiously awaiting the student’s arrival. HE is with the woman starting a new job, the man walking in for an audition, the family following the moving van to a new home in a new town. GOD has a long history of new beginnings.
The Bible is full of powerful examples of GOD creating new beginnings for His people. GOD started a brand new world with Noah and his family after the flood. HE started a new nation with Abraham and Sarah. With Nehemiah, GOD built a new wall around the city of Jerusalem. GOD started a new royal dynasty with David.
HE started a new covenant with Jesus. And yet to come, GOD promises a new Heaven and a new Earth. GOD loves doing new things!
While GOD delights in doing new things, we are not always very comfortable doing new things. We prefer the old ways, not the new ways. We prefer living in the past rather than moving into the future. Fear of something new can be paralyzing. This kind of fear can actually prevent us from being faithful to GOD. This kind of fear can cause us to miss out on the amazing adventures GOD has in store for us. Fear of the new, the unknown is natural. But look how many times people encountered GOD or one of His angels and the first words spoken to them were, “Fear not!”
Jeff Bezos was working at a Wall Street firm in the early 1990s when he decided to do something new.
He started his own company. He understood that 9 out of 10 start up companies fail. And yet he tried to start something new.
He eventually settled on an idea of launching an online bookstore. Today Amazon sells everything from books and furniture to gadgets and wine. It’s worth about $200 billion with over $88 billion in annual sales.
Just as Jeff Bezos left his old job to start something new, we all have new opportunities waiting for us. GOD has a plan for you and for your life. It might involve some new challenge, some new opportunity, some new responsibility you have never taken on before.
The middle of August is an ideal time to see the opportunities GOD is opening before you. Look around. See the new things GOD wants to accomplish in and with you. Remember, GOD delights in doing new things. How about you?