Another Word…by Gus Keiser

January 1, 2018

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.

                                                                                                                                 Job 42: 16-17

 During my years of living, I’ve had more than one person tell me “You’re full of it!” I, along with you, know what that statement implies…and perhaps at times maybe I am.  But I have yet to have anyone tell me that I’m full of years…which, at my age, I am, although I certainly hope that there’s at least a little room in the old “year barrel” for a few more.

The book of Job ends on a note of contentment and peace after a rather tumultuous collection of chapters preceding its ending one. I read in a commentary a lot of years ago that Job was about my current age when the book bearing his name began.  And when the book begins, Job is this aged, contented man, a picture of peace, one whom God has greatly blessed.

As you’re reading this, you are also likely looking ahead to the New Year that lies before you…a new year, symbolizing a new beginning. The old is past, put away forever.  As we prepare for this new beginning, God invites us to, as he has so many times in our past, forget about all our distrust and fears, all the anxieties of the past, all the resentments we’ve been holding against others, all the grudges, all the criticisms…to put them away and begin anew.

God invites us to close the book on it all, and as we close that book, there may well be a question that hovers over us (one we may feel deeply within our heart)…”On what basis am I going to live this new year? Will it be on the old basis of it-all-depends-on-me, do-it-yourself goodness before God, trying my best to be pleasing to God and meaning it with all my heart but never fully realizing the depths of evil with which I have to deal?”  Or will I accept the gift of God that is waiting for me every day, fresh from his hand, a gift of forgiveness, or righteousness already mine, of a relationship in which he is my dear Father and I am his cherished, beloved child, and in which he therefore has provided for me all I need, all day long, so that I can stand up to and say no to evil and yes to truth and right?

Will we begin this New Year on that basis? If it is, this is going to be a year in which our life will be characterized by peace, love and beauty.  Or, if we insist on living this coming year on the same old basis, we may find ourselves like those friends of Job, arousing the anger and the wrath of God.  Though God is patient and merciful, and slow to anger, our only escape will be to repent of our evil ways and rest upon the righteousness of our perfect substitute and return to God for the blessing he’s waiting to give.  This is the choice before us, each one of us, as we prepare to set that first foot into this New Year.  So, how are you going to live this New Year?

Loving God and Lord… thank you for this New Year that lies before us. We choose you.  We choose to depend on you, trust you, and accept from your hand all that you would give us.  Amen.

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