“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” -Psalm 96:1-3
In just a few short hours, the clock will turn to a new decade: 2020. Isn’t it hard to believe? I remember 20 years ago worrying about whether the internet would crash because of the Y2K bug. For those who don’t remember this time, everyone feared that the computers would glitch because the coding sequence would have to change.
The Encyclopedic Brittanica said it best: “Until the 1990s, many computer programs (especially those written in the early days of computers) were designed to abbreviate four-digit years as two digits in order to save memory space. These computers could recognize “98” as “1998” but would be unable to recognize “00” as “2000,” perhaps interpreting it to mean 1900. Many feared that when the clocks struck midnight on January 1, 2000, many affected computers would be using an incorrect date and thus fail to operate properly unless the computers’ software was repaired or replaced before that date.”
While we don’t have to worry about computers crashing, we may have to worry about annoying slogans, such as: “This year is going to be clear. Get 20/20 vision in 2020.” Okay, I will stop pretending to predict what optometrists have up their sleeves for advertisements and now focus on why each new year has value for human beings created in the image of God. Did you see what I did there? I used the word “focus.” Alright, time to finally get serious.
The Psalmist here is declaring a new song. He is proclaiming a new opportunity to worship and praise Yahweh. In fact, we are to praise God’s name and his salvation day after day. Moreover, Lamentations 3:22 clearly teaches that the Lord’s steadfast love never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is his faithfulness. Whether it’s a new week, a new Sabbath, a new year, a new decade, or even a new Millenium. His mercies start over each day.
But why are humans infatuated with a new year? What motivates us to read our bibles more in 2020, start up a new exercise regimen, blog more (my motivation today), work harder, study harder, etc? I think the answer lies in this notion of having a fresh start. Being able to forget the past, focus on the present, and plan for the future is refreshing. Since all of us seem to fail in one way or the other every year, I think it’s in us to have a repentant attitude to do better. And it’s not in just believers, it’s embedded in the fabric spirit of the human race.
I am reminded of Job. He had a rough year. One of his messengers told him the bad news in Job 1:18-19. “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Can you imagine how heartbroken you would be to lose your sons and daughters from a windstorm that was contrived by Satan? How devastated would you be to hear your own wife tell you to curse God and die? In all this, it says Job kept his integrity and did not sin. He did not become angry for all the devastation wrought by this terrible situation.
When we read this story, I think most of us would agree that He had every right to be angry and upset. He lost all that God had given Him. In fact, Job even says: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” This confession is to state that the Lord of the universe is in charge and there is nothing we outright own, not even our own soul.
As we read further, we know Job’s friends verbally attacked him, blemished his reputation, and the Lord spoke from a whirlwind to ultimately confront Job. But after all the calamity and all the turmoil, a new song occurs. A new beginning. A new opportunity. A new year for Job. Here in Job 42:10, it states: “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
I don’t know what 2019 looked like for you. It could have been a great year or it could have been an awful year. Maybe you had both highs and lows. Whatever situation you are in now, just remember that God’s mercies renew every day. You don’t have to wait for 2020 to get a fresh start. You don’t have to declare that this year will be better than before because, in all honesty, you really don’t know.
But what you can know for sure is that God will protect you. When you call upon Him, He will answer. He loves to give good gifts to His children. God delights in seeing us prosper. Even when we go through various trials and tribulations, He will never leave you or forsake you. You can count on God to rescue you from any storm.
If you have a bad start to 2020, just remember that God is rooting you on. He is the Almighty One. He is the Prince of Peace. He is our Great Redeemer and Healer. I would like to end this devotional with one of the greatest passages ever written by the Apostle Paul. He declares this truth in Romans 8:38-39:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.