“It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”
– Deuteronomy 11:12 NIV
I find it fascinating that the LORD marks out calendar times in His Word. Throughout Scripture we find mentions to the beginning of the year, the week, the months, and many other references that align with our understanding of a calendar year.
The phrase, “the beginning of the year,” occurs only twice in the Bible; here in Deuteronomy and also in Ezekiel 40:1. In this passage the LORD, through His servant Moses, speaks of the Promised Land that He has prepared for the Children of Israel. God promises “a land of hills and valleys that drinks rain from heaven” (Deut. 11:11) if His people obey God, and judgment if they do not (Deut. 11:16,17). In either case, the LORD’s watchful eye remains upon His land from the beginning to the end of each year.
Although these promises were specifically given for Israel, the principle surely applies globally. God’s sovereign rule and reign over all people and things is constant. Consider what Luke writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “from one man He made every nation of men, and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of them.” – Acts 17:26&27
These promises from Deuteronomy can, in principle, also be applied to us as followers of Jesus Christ, our LORD. Notice from the text that the “eyes of the Lord are on it.” God’s careful and watchful eye is always upon His precious nation. His eyes are also on each of us. Consider Job’s thorough knowledge of this reality:
“Does he not see my ways and count my every step?”
– Job 31:4 NIV
There is nothing more satisfying for a believer than to be knowing and living in the will of God! Isn’t it good to know that Yahweh God actually delights in leading us along the path laid out for us?
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.” – Psalm 37:23 NKJV
Or perhaps you are familiar with God’s beautiful promise: “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” – Proverbs 3:6
In 2012 what if you and I made a concerted daily effort to pray like the Psalmist does in Psalm 119?
“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” – Psalm 119:133 NIV
Even if the path becomes difficult at times, it is a good path, because it honors Him. “… He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3 NIV
He is our Good Shepherd (Ps. 23) and if we lose our way for a time, He can bring us back. As the prophet said, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” – Jeremiah 10:23 NIV
An important check to be sure we are not drifting far off the path is to be sure we don’t disobey or question His written Word. When we seek, as best we can, to be obedient we can claim the promise: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” – Isaiah 30:21 NIV
More than likely, it will not be an audible voice, but we can still hear. We hear through His written word or through wisdom and prophetic words shared from others. We also hear from strong impressions or ideas that emerge from our minds as well as through circumstances. All of these ways are valid as long as they are in line with the Word of God.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27 NIV
Last week in one of my men’s groups, I asked the guys what the Holy Spirit was speaking to them. One young man said, “I keep having these strong thoughts come to my mind saying, ‘be patient with your children!’ Another man said, “the Spirit is not only telling me to share Christ, I actually am! I’m giving out the Four-Law Booklet and have begun dialogue with one man in particular. These men are not only listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, they are responding in obedience to His voice.
Estimates say that in the coming year you will walk approximately 10,000 steps every day with a combined total of 3,520,000 steps in 2012. What a great “Beginning of the Year” resolution to pray as the Psalmist prayed, “Order my steps in your Word” Oh Lord”! – Psalm 119:133. At the end of 2012 perhaps we will say with Job…
“My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.” – Job 23:11 NIV
I look forward to interacting with you about this content as well as anything else that the Lord may be stirring within you. Feel free to drop me a line on our Dale Ebel Ministries Facebook page at (www.facebook.com/daleebel)
May The Lord’s Favor and Grace Shine Upon You in 2012!
 This passage in Deuteronomy is one of the reasons Linda and I are flying the flag of Israel on our house, along with our American flag. I’ve actually had over 10 spiritual conversations with curious neighbors as a result! Our number one reason for taking this action is that there are more predictive prophecies about the actual “dirt” or “land” (Hebrew: eretz אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל ) of Israel than any other prophecy! As followers of Christ, I firmly believe we need to stand behind Israel and bless them as the Scriptures so clearly teach (Genesis 12:1-3). I’m thankful for the wonderful and insightful conversations that have spawned from this simple display.