[New Year 2019]
The rhythm of nature and the certainty of the seasons are always a source of inspiration for me. There is so much of what we experience on a daily basis that encourages us to believe the Word of God with deep assurance. I have quoted Genesis 8:22 often. I am sure all of you know it by heart by now. The language echoes the rhythm of the words and the meaning.
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
Every person caught in the tight grip of winter knows that spring is coming. Relief is coming. Many psychologists and counselors use the symbolism of the seasons to explain life.
Our life is not constant and mostly it is difficult to “see” the spring in the middle of winter. However, it is ALWAYS there. It requires a closer look to see the promise of the bloom on every tree, waiting for the silent announcement of the turn of time. In the beginning of spring the trees get a gleam of green – a light green, a new green. Later it becomes clearer and deeper in colour.
Usually the turn of the calendar year finds the northern hemisphere in the fiercest grip of winter. The south enjoys its warmest days. The first day of the New Year is either very cold or very hot and it is hard to envisage the turn of the season. That is exactly the utilization of imagination that we need to believe the promises of God for the future. The things hoped for becomes firm and confident faith. (Hebrews 11:1)
The visual and atmospheric experience of the season while the opposite is reality, is the challenge. It is what God expects of us.
The golden thread of symbolic learn experiences in the Word of God, is true treasure. We know there were three elements in the Ark of the Covenant that stood in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, representing the presence of the Most High God. There was the golden bowl with manna that did not go bad, as nothing ever decays in the presence of God. There were the stone tablets on which the law was written and lastly the staff of Aaron that bloomed, blossomed and bore fruit in one day.
This staff is the symbol of the supernatural, literally above and beyond the natural and expected process.
We have just mentioned the seasons. Usually the blooms are ready in winter already. In early spring they swell out and grow into leaves and flowers. Mostly on fruit trees, like the almond of which this staff was cut, the flowers become fruit – a most magnificent progression. After some more time has passed, the fruit is ready for harvesting.
Aaron’s staff was a dry stick. A staff was a common accessory for a man at the time. David writes about it in Psalm 23, visualizing God as a good shepherd using a staff as protection for the sheep. Jesus depicted himself as a good shepherd, saying it in one of the seven I AM-sayings in John’s Gospel.
This dead piece of wood becomes the symbol of the supernatural when the normal process of nature is accelerated as a sign of God’s intervention and communication.
Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. (Numbers 17:8)
Many centuries later we read of the almond shoot in the first chapter of Jeremiah. This particular passage was a lifeline in a dark time in my own life. It was God’s encouragement to me that He will make his promise true. Read with me in the Amplified translation.
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see?
And I said, I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter].
Then said the Lord to me, you have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
The Hebrew word for almond shoot is similar to the word for “alert and active”.
The almond blossoms very early, in late winter, before the first signs of spring. God’s timing always resembles his grace and mercy, just like He shortened the exile in the time of Daniel. The blossom of the almond is a symbol of God’s action upon his word and our circumstances.
How are you these first days of 2019? It is quite daunting to look at a year ahead and again realize how little control we have over our future. Our answer to the future is HOPE. Our hope in God fills our hearts and minds and our faith in God guarantees God’s action to our advantage and benefit, especially when things look dark and uncertain.
How do you know that God will act on your behalf? It is his promise since the earliest days on earth. Listen closely to the words of my dear friend, the ancient prophet Isaiah:
The Lord has made bare His holy arm. In the eyes of all the nations and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.(Isaiah 52:10)
To bare your arm implies that you have rolled up your sleeves and are ready for work. Isn’t this just such a magnificent picture of God in action? Let 2019 be the year of God’s grace in your life and expect a special revelation of his goodness.
Sing with the Psalmist the promise for 2019.
Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.
God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God’s work of salvation! (Psalm 98:1-3, The Message)
Just pause and think of God’s love and his salvation and then jump up and dance. You have good reason to twirl and swirl in the beauty of his grace and love.
May God bless you with a firm conviction of his love for you in 2019!