While we mull over the year that’s past and consider the year yet ahead, invariably we will have to face one practical question what should I be doing, now? Surprisingly, thats not always the easiest question to answer. For we each confront a combination of perplexing situations, regrettable failures, as well as multiple opportunities and at times they can all seem to simultaneously demand our attention. Truly, considering what we should do can get confusing.
As Ive prayerfully considered it myself, the Lord drew my attention to an event under Asas reign over Judah, recorded in 2 Chronicles 15. After beginning quite well (see 14:2-6), Asa was met by the prophet Azariah, who reiterated Gods promise to His people:
The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them (15:2-4).
Asa took courage from Gods promise, got right to work, and gathered all the people together (vv. 8-9). It is what happened next that I believe is exemplary for us:
And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. They swore an oath to the LORD with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around (vv. 12-15).
Literally, v. 12 reads they entered into the covenant to seek the LORD (see NASB), that is, the covenant that the Lord had made with Israel to be their God and they His people (e.g., Exod 19:5-6). So renewed in worship together, Judah rejoiced and did find our faithful God who gave them rest. Repeatedly, the Lord has reminded me that this is where His people are always to begin.
It is this same truth that assured Paul in the turmoil of his life and ministry. Paul served the even more glorious new covenant (2 Cor 3:6-11) and by that covenant, he and every Christian are promised the freedom to behold the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and be changed into His glorious image (3:18). It was because of this promise that Paul did not lose heart (4:1).
Undoubtedly, as we leave 2013 for 2014, we face many confusing situations, many opportunities that beckon us, and yes, all the lingering consequences from things that we should not have done. So what should we do? I cannot answer every specific, but I do know that we must begin by embracing this glorious new covenant and seek our God.
Would you begin 2014 by seeking Him? Lets ask that He may revive our contemplation of His glory in the face of our Lord Jesus. Lets ask Him to turn our hearts away from so many distractions and from leaning upon so many false supports. And lets ask the Lord for His Spirit to revive a heart of earnest prayer and longing with all their heart and with all their soul.” If this new year is to be a happy one, itll be so through the joy and rest that may be found in Him alone. Lets seek Him.