“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” – Exodus 12:2 NASB
When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, not only were their lives drastically changed, but also their yearly timetable. A new calendar was established by the Lord for His people beginning around the time of the Exodus. The purpose was for them to have a system by which they could consistently remember the Lord’s deliverance and their freedom from slavery in Egypt.
The doctrine of remembrance, seen throughout Scripture, teaches God’s people to foster gratitude when considering all that the Lord has done. How desperately do each of us need to remember God’s faithfulness? In fact, I would encourage you to write down, perhaps in a journal, the many ways God has been faithful in your life over the past year. This will do wonders for your soul in cultivating an attitude of gratitude to the Lord! After this exercise you might also like to write down your hopes and dreams for how you’d like to be used by God in 2012.
This “beginning of months” (Exodus 12:2), approximately corresponds to our modern month of April (for the Jews, the month is Abib). This month was to be marked especially by observance of the Passover supper on the 14th day of the month. The lamb was to be selected for each family on the 10th day of the month, and presumably the first nine days were spent in preparation, self-examination, anticipation and growing attachment to the lamb. The week following was to mark the use of unleavened bread in each home. The leaven represented the sin, which had been purged from the home symbolically by the sacrifice of the lamb and their deliverance by God from bondage in Egypt when He saw the shed blood (Exodus 12:13).
Take time to jot down several sins that hindered you this last year. What stops you from becoming more like Christ?
Confess them, repent by demonstrating surrender, and attempt deeds in the power of the Spirit that manifest repentance! (Luke 3:8).
Although our annual calendar is different from that of Israel at the time of Moses, the spiritual significance of their religious New Year can well be applied in our own lives today, especially as we begin 2012.
As we begin this New Year, we can and should remember
“…Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” –
1 Corinthians 5:7 NASB, offering special thanks for our great deliverance from sin and death by our “…Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
A person has, on average, only about 18,000 days in a life-time. May we use this time for God’s eternal purposes!
“15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, (redeeming the time KJV) because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV
We all have the same amount of time in a given day, month, or year. Each moment of time is an opportunity to develop our character. Our character is the sum total of our habits and our habits form our character. There is only one way to develop the habits of Christlike character: We must practice them…and that takes time. There are no instant habits, as Paul urged Timothy, “15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 ESV
We ought to evaluate our time and be ready to initiate in any given month, week, day or hour as to how we might bring up Christ and His Truth in our conversations with non-believers. We ought to use our time wisely to serve in any capacity, whether that be helping the poor, disciplining another person, equipping others for service, or a myriad of other endeavors.
Recently when I was having lunch with our oldest son Brandon, I introduced myself to a couple that was sitting next to us. As we engaged in polite conversation I discovered that the guy was the original developer of the resort we were staying at, and that he was Native Hawaiian. As Brandon and I interacted with he and his wife, he shared how the original Hawaiians used to live in the mountain regions and come down to the beaches to fish, swim and hunt. As I asked him more questions the subject came up about how he met his wife, who is Caucasian. Sitting at the bar he began to open up about how difficult it was for people to accept the fact that they loved each other, even though they were different nationalities.
“You know there is a passage in the Bible that addresses the idea of our original ancestry”, I said as I made reference to Acts 17:26. “It says that all people come from a common man, Adam, and that the ‘races’ are a man-made description of people groups. The word race actually fosters racism. The couple perked up with heightened interest.
I went on to say that the word race is not found in the Bible. The word race technically refers to, and is understood as, ‘a sub-species in the process of evolving into a new species.’ I proceeded to say that the truth is every one of us comes from a common ancestor and biologically one person is the same as another. We all have been raised in different cultural surroundings and that usually creates challenges in any marriage, but from God’s perspective He is not against mixed marriages.
Don’t you love it when we can affirm the Word of God that affirms people?!
These concepts were extremely interesting to both of them but to his wife in particular. At first she seemed indifferent. Before long she began to open up about how she was raised and their value system and the success of their marriage.
Before we left she got off her stool and approached me and asked, “Are you a Pastor? We would love to get together when you are here again.”
Once again this is just a casual, gracious encounter where the opportunity arose for me to use time for our Lord. Think about it…at the beginning of each month 43,829 minutes await you. It seems likely that God has a few “divine arrangements’” for each of us, don’t you think?
“12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 ESV
 Our annual calendar is also different from modern Jews who have continued to follow a civil calendar beginning in October