As January approaches and with it the New Year, perhaps some perspective and encouragement are in order. There are tons of Bible verses that discuss the attributes of God. However, six biblical authors discus our Heavenly Father more lucidly and with greater volume than all of the others.
As you might suspect, our lives are threaded with the same tapestry of detail as theirs. This provides us the same catalysts for growth and encouragement as it did for them.
In many ways, when Moses wrote Deuteronomy, he was making his final address to the people he led out of Egypt. As they stood facing the prospect of the Promised Land, they realized they were facing war, temptation, and a new way of life—all under the unproven leadership of Joshua.
What do you suppose Moses filled his final address with?
That’s right. He reminded the people of who God is and how His very character preceded them across the Jordan River. At the threshold of uncertainty, Moses encouraged Israel to reflect on their Foundation. New years are like thresholds.
Many years later, during one of the darkest periods of Israel’s sordid history, Samuel appeared, calling for revival while leading the nation politically. He presided spiritually during the reigns of Saul and David, both of whom he had the privilege of anointing as king. From his earliest days in the temple with Eli, and throughout his life, he referenced God’s character as his point of perspective.
Does 2013 look dark? Samuel’s declaration is as cogent today as it was then: God is faithful.
There is no more intense book in God’s Word than the book of Job. There is the indignation of self-justification and the horrific realization of self-righteousness. With cryptic, philosophical angst, Job wanted to know—in the midst of immeasurable suffering—why the righteous suffer, only to realize the failure of his own self-sufficiency.
Job fills his initial chapters with heady, cerebral declarations of who God is, but concludes his book with heart-rending humility as he comes to know who God really is and sees His divine character stoop to love him in the stench of his self-righteousness.
It doesn’t get worse than the book of Job. Suffering is intense, but the intensity of God’s love is even more profound.
Murder. Passion. Grief. Adultery. War. Wealth. Power. David experienced and wrote about all these and more. In fact, the Psalms are basically his journal notes, penned from the spectrum of his emotion. It is as though we are privileged to listen in, given permission to let his eloquence speak for us, and in so doing glimpse the relationship God has in mind when He thinks of us. Our new roads (or years) are old roads to others. Why not let David be our mentor?
Christ called him “John, son of thunder.” The disciples reference him as the one Jesus loved. He stood alone at the cross. (Contemplate that for a moment). He expressed the “heart’ of Christianity: the character of God’s identity personified in Christ. Even if you stand alone at the doorway to 2013, that’s not a bad place to be.
Paul. The man entrusted to relay the truth of God to us more than any other biblical writer. He declared himself foremost of sinners. Scholar. Pharisee. Well acquainted with his own flesh and temptations. Trusted to endure physical burdens. Paul. A man deeply touched by the grace of God, who lived a normal Christian live and committed himself to telling us about it. A man profoundly humbled by the fact that God chose him to be one of His own. A man who filled the pages of his letters with reminders of who God is and who He made us to be as His children.
According to his inspired words, we are fully equipped for 2013.
As we stand at the threshold of the New Year, we know our lives will be filled with a taste of all that I have mentioned above. That includes not only the circumstantial challenges and emotional upheavals, but also the integrity and character of our Father so aptly portrayed by these torchbearers of our faith.
Whatever is on the other side of today, our Father has traveled the road to tomorrow—and He holds both in His hand.
Happy New Year!