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New and Old

It’s a new year. Of course, that’s only true in the western world that counts January 1st as the beginning of the year – other cultures observe different New Year’s Days. Technically, to observe a true new year, we would need to know the date on which God first spoke the words “Let there be …” and with them flung the universe into existence – and that’s a detail that none of us is likely to discover this side of heaven (and when we get there, we probably won’t care.)

Yet even knowing that the date on which we observe the beginning of a new year is totally arbitrary, I find it impossible to miss the freshness that the new year brings. Somehow, totally irrationally, there is new hope in the air. Somehow, for no logical reason, the tiredness of the old year has slipped away and been replaced with a new excitement and enthusiasm.

I’m reminded yet again of all the places in the Word where God talks about new things … a new heart, a new spirit, a new life, a new Covenant, a new heaven and a new earth. He promises that He will do new things. He calls us onward to a new day, and offers us a new beginning every time we turn to Him in repentance and faith. Clearly God is very much about the new.

I’m reminded, too, that God is also about the old. He is from everlasting to everlasting. In the Old Testament He said, “I am the Lord, I change not”, whilst the New Testament reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” God does not change, because He is perfect, and perfection is absolute. Growth implies that there was a lack, and there is no lack in God.

It seems like a contradiction in terms … how can God be always new, yet always the same?

The contradiction only arises from our earth-bound, limited perspective. The “new” things are only new to us, they are not new to God. The New Covenant, for instance, was always part of God’s purposes; but it had to be preceded by the Old Covenant to give it a firm foundation. The “new” things that God plans to do in your life and mine in 2010 have been planned by Him for all eternity … He has just been waiting for us to be ready for them.

So, as we enjoy the “newness” of 2010, let’s also take a few moments to rejoice in the “oldness” of our relationship with God … that “old, old story” of the Covenant set in the heart of God before the universe began, and fulfilled 2000 years ago when God stepped into the pages of human history to pay our debt to Himself. Let’s remind us of the unchangeableness of His character and the certainty of His promises. And let’s rest in the sure knowledge that the ageless and unchanging God already knows every nanosecond of the year ahead – and of all the years to follow – and has gone ahead of us. No doubt this year will hold many things that will be new to us, but they will not be new to Him.

I wish you all God’s super-abundant blessings for every area of your lives in 2010.

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