Will You Have a Blessed 2018?
Dear BPCWAers. Wishing all worshippers a blessed New Year in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As we enter into a New Year, I felt it is important for us to review what we learnt at our Watchnight Worship Service. Do you wish to have a year with the blessings of God?
In Leviticus 26, the LORD God gave specific instructions for the children of Israel about what they needed to do when they enter into the Promised Land. These instructions were part of the covenant they entered into with Him when they took Him as the LORD their God. Every covenant has terms and conditions between the parties. As God’s people, He will bless them for obedience and will chastise them for disobedience. The blessings were to enable them to fulfil their purpose in the land. The chastisements were in love to keep them from falling into sin and failing in the good purposes God has set for them. The terms and conditions are always for our good also. Like them, the 10 Commandments are for us to keep – not in order to be saved, but because we have been saved.
There were 3 key areas they were to focus on. If they kept them, they would experience great blessings. Like them, as we enter into the new year 2018, we can be assured of blessings from God if we too keep these commands as children of God. These 3 areas were
1)Make no idols. Lev 26:1 gives the first instruction not to break the 2nd Commandment. It reminds us to make sure there are no idols that we carry into or intend to set up for 2018. Idols are what takes the place of God in our hearts. You love and desire it more than God. It can be a person, pursuit, possession, hobby, or job. Any form of addiction is idolatry. We may not bow to a physical image but we do so in our heart to many things. We do so when we, instead of following God, bow to the pressure of acting and dressing in certain ways to be like others in certain friendships or be in certain circle of people in school and at work. We work nonstop to make more money and would give up coming to church to learn about God and to serve Him because we bow to the pressure of achieving a certain level of lifestyle. We would rather be pursuing our hobbies than to be found in church worshipping and serving Him because we bow to the pleasures of our fleshly desires. Our family, children, and spouse can also be our idols. Saving Israel out of Egypt was one thing, getting Egypt out of Israel was another. Idols are the root cause of us breaking all the other 9 commandments. Husbands, are there idols you held on to in 2017 that has made you fail your God and your family? Deal with them at the start of 2018 now.
2) Keep the Sabbath. Lev 26:2 gives the command to keep the 4th Commandment to observe the Lord’s Day. Keeping the Lord’s day is fundamental to the believer’s life each week. Again, this is for our good. It not a grievous command. Keeping the Lord’s Day maintains our perspective of eternal things. God knows it is needed for us, else we will become worldly and self centred. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exo 20:8). The children of Israel did not keep it and as expected, they fell into grievous sins and grew further and further from the LORD. “Keep it holy” means to set the day (note that it is the Sabbath DAY, not morning) apart for God alone. Guard the Lord’s day jealously and let nothing interfere with it. Hence it is to use the entire day for worship, for His service, and for prayer and meditation. The children of Israel did not guard it. Idols kept them from it. What idols will keep you and your family from setting Sundays apart in spiritual pursuit and service in 2018?
3) Reverence God’s Presence. God’s sanctuary represents His Presence with the children of Israel. Our attitude towards God when we come to worship Him and serve Him is important. While no one can see our heart, yet our outward often does naturally reflect our inward. Our casualness in attitudes during worship, in being on time, and even how we dress is telling. Ultimately, our reverence is shown in how we take His instructions. Perhaps you do not think all the above are necessary. You have been doing well without keeping the above. Leviticus 26 reminds us of the final state. Israel’s situation today is our living reminder. God was very merciful. His dealing was long and extended. He only gradually increased the chastisement. This is His longsuffering and kindness. But do not presume upon it. Reverence your LORD. What will result of your life, your family, depends upon how you live year after year. We despise God and His Word and break covenant with Him when we break His commandments. This is how God views it, it is not your Pastor’s opinion. We see this in Lev 26:14-15.
God promised blessings. God also promised chastisements. He will keep both faithfully. Will you have a blessed 2018? Your answer is found in the conditional statement of Lev 26:3 – “If ye walk in my statues and keep my commandments, and do them”. It clearly depends on your choice to obey or despise His commands in the year ahead. Resolve, by His grace, to have a blessed 2018.
Yours in our Lord’s service