Any thing “New” is always an exciting event. And a New Year always is a time of excitement, anxiety and hope and sometimes new beginnings.
The excitement is from the hope that it will be “better” than the last, hoping that things that were left undone will be completed, there will be fewer challenges and more success stories. It always a time of joy when you are at the “start” of anything, due to the perception that you have a whole year to complete it. There is also some anxiety and pressure because you want to achieve certain things that your have set forth to accomplish during the course of the year.
For a Christian, the beginning of the Year should be a time for “New Beginnings”, or a Turning Point for things that you want to radically change or impact aiming for bigger achievements. As we start the year let us go back to the Bible and see how we can assess the opportunities we have, for which we apply a turning point ad steer towards achieving what God desires of us. Let us study the life of Jacob, how a deceiver like him had a turning point in his life which set the course for him to get into the lineage of Lord Jesus Christ.
Jacob’s Deception Scheme
We learn about Jacob in the Bible, he was a deceiver, and his ill behavior was further enhanced by encouragement from his mother Rebecca. In Genesis 27 we read about the instance where he deceived his elder brother of his blessing inheritance. In those days, it was customary for the eldest son to receive the father’s first blessings. Blessings that would come true and this was the privilege reserved only for the eldest son.
Rebecca overheard Issac (Jacob’s father) telling his older son Esau to go and hunt wild game, and make a dish according to his likeness, so that he could give him the blessings before he dies. Rebecca encouraged Jacob to kill a goat, and prepare the meat and together they deceived Isaac into believing that Jacob is Esau and Isaac ends up giving the blessings of prosperity and a bright future to Jacob.
Jacob’s Dream- the Turning Point
Esau comes to know about this and is very frustrated and furious, and Rebecca encourages Jacob to run away from his house to his uncle’s to save his life. On the way to his uncle Laban’s house Jacob is tired and takes a stone and makes it his pillow to catch some sleep. And in his sleep he sees a dream, a ladder that goes all the way to heaven and the Lord God at the top of it, and ascending and descending the ladder. And the Lord gives him a promise “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. …”. Genesis 27:5 “ I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
This experience changed Jacob’s life. This is the time when Jacob has his first personal encounter and experience with God, this was a turning point in his life.
He does five things:
- He acknowledges the presence of God in that place
- He accepts his lack of awareness and ignorance
- He understands the awesomeness of the place
- He sets the stone as a pillar and establishes a place of worship, and gives the place the name Bethel
- Makes a vow unto God Genesis 27:20 “20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear …“
This event deeply touched his life and he is a changed man, this Turning Point brought in “New Revelations”. Here three changes we can see:
- The God that was the God of his Fathers now became his God Verse 20 he had replied to his father- “The Lord your God gave me success,” . Genesis 28:21 “ then the Lord[f] will be my God“.
- He acknowledges and accept the awesomeness, the power, the greatness of God and worships him
- He commits to pay his tithes Genesis 28:22 “and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
In the later chapters we see Jacob continue to rely and gain his strength from the power of Lord God Almighty. He was faced with many challenges but this one instances lays the foundation for him to become someone who fully relies on God.
Coming to now, and to you…
You can take this time to reflect on things that you need to change in your life, things that need a New Beginning, areas where you need a Turning point. Yes, your wrong doings may not be as bad as Jacob’s or it may be even much worse than that. But seek peace and comfort from God, he can change all circumstances. Lets accept and acknowledge God awesomeness and his greatness. Take the time to “rest in his presence” as Jacob found rest although all circumstances were against him, but he was able to experience the presence of God through his tough times. But you need to have the humility to accept the revelations, the insight God gives you. It could be from this messages, or any word of encouragement you have heard that may have touched you but you haven’t taken seriously.
- Find the area in Your life that needs a New beginning, the places from where you need a Turning Point.
- Make some commitments to change your life, and change course – to let go of things that may be defiling you, separating you from the Love of God, separating you from your family, separating you from Godly fellowship.
- Take time to “set a pillar”, a reminder of the change you have made, so that you don’t turn back to it again. Make God a priority in your life, and take the time for building that the personal relationship with God.
- Make a vow, Make some New Commitments– Changes that will prosper you, changes that will get your closer to God, Changes that will strengthen your family relationships, Changes that will make you a better person. So you can leave a better legacy behind.
If you this message has touched your heart, and you desire to make this a turning point in your lives, and set a pillar, please pray with me now…
O Lord God, Thank you for a blessed year you have given to me. At this time I would like to set a New Beginning in certain areas of my life. I know I have not met the fullest of your expectations of me, I do acknowledge that I have wronged you, I have wronged my family, I have wronged my spouse, I have wronged my friends. But I know that you are an awesome God, you are the same God of Isaac, and Jacob and you are the same today. I pray that you may forgive me, and help me establish this new covenant so I can change the course of my life and align to what you desire of me. I would like to live a life to the fullest of your expectations of me and leave a better legacy behind.
I would like to set this pillar today, as a reminder of the new commitments I have made, I desire to know you more and strengthen my personal relationship with you. Thank You for all that You have done for me.
Lord you may bless me, in Jesus name I pray….Amen!